Farmers who are able to wait until late spring or early summer to buy fertilizer are likely to see lower prices, the annual Grain World conference in Winnipeg heard last week.
David Asbridge, client development manager and senior economist for Doane Advisory Services in St. Louis, Missouri, said his first recommendation to growers is to shop around. Many dealers stocked up on high-priced fertilizer while they were still expecting normal fall demand and are now sitting on expensive product that needs to be moved.
Also, fertilizer prices should begin to ease once the main part of the U. S. spring planting season has passed and summer begins, he said.
Nitrogen prices may even fall sharply depending on how weather and seeding turns out in the U. S. this spring, Asbridge said. If the U. S. has a favourable spring, expect to see urea prices tick back up by $40 to $50 per ton in the next six to eight weeks before beginning to pull back, he said.
Phosphate prices will remain steady to slightly lower as farmers cut back their phosphate applications as much as they can afford to, Asbridge said..
However, the window of time to capitalize on softer late spring-early summer input costs may be narrow, Asbridge warned. As prices fall, fertilizer companies will begin to lower output to draw down supply. That may create spot shortages.
“Buy when you feel comfortable that you’ve shopped around but don’t wait too long,” Asbridge told the conference participants.