Iowa fertilizer prices have been on the rise again since late 2017 after they had generally dropped following the high commodity and input prices seen in 2012. These higher prices add additional stress to farmers facing low and negative expected crop returns. Liquid nitrogen (32%) prices averaged $271/ton during the last 12 months, but recently increased to about $311/ton. The most recent 12-month average Iowa price for anhydrous ammonia is was $538/ton, but average Iowa prices on May 8, 2019 are currently $630/ton.

When looking at the Price/lb Nitrogen graph, you can see that anhydrous ammonia remains the cheapest price per pound of nitrogen, although there has been an increase for each of these four types during 2019.  

Recent flooding in both the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers have caused logistical issues for obtaining nitrogen fertilizers, adding additional problems for farmers applying spring nitrogen. Reduced shipping capacity on the rivers is also causing transportation and storage issues for those wanting to ship out grain. Projections are that river levels might not return to normal for about a month, and then there will be time spent repairing load out facilities.

Michelle Mensing, Research Analyst, Decision Innovation Solutions (DIS). DIS is an Iowa-based economic research firm which provides regular farm economic research for the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation.