The approximate retail prices for bulk purchases of major fertilizers per ton, published in the Aug. 17, 2017, USDA Illinois Department of Agriculture Market News Report, are shown in Table 1.
The current prices of all fertilizers are 5 to 15 percent lower than the corresponding 2015-2016 prices.
The monthly price trends for the first half of 2017 are shown in Figure 1. The prices remained low and stable. The fertilizer industry is historically cyclical and currently going through a down cycle. The low fertilizer prices have helped farmers reduce their production costs to some extent compared to other inputs.
Michigan State University Extension advises producers be aware of price fluctuations over time and take advantage of purchasing options. Some proactive farmers prefer to pre-order and lock in phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) fertilizer for the following season when off-season prices are favorable. The low phosphorus and potassium fertilizer prices should also be an incentive for growers to apply phosphorus and potassium at buildup rates on fields that are currently below the critical soil test levels.
Despite the current fertilizer market stability, unforeseen changes in global demand or supply may cause price fluctuations.