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2008 Fertilizer Prices - Major Increases

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by master gardener, Feb 3, 2008.

  1. Penscape Landscaping

    Penscape Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 357

    Crazy!! I noticed that also! What is not going up? My supplier told me that the price of Round up and Killzall is about double what it was last year? SOmething about a shortage of a (isopropylamine salt of glyphosate ACIDS)! What the heck people in my area already are not willing or wanting to shell out the money for additional services. I hope there is a break some where soon or it will be hard for the smaller companies like myself to compete with the large ones!
  2. lawnguyland

    lawnguyland LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,108

    Hey Whitey- I do the same as you- small lots, super high quality. Same area- western nassau for me. I get maybe 4-6 houses out of a bag of fert so even if it's 20$ a bag that's maybe 5$ a prop for materials (excluding all other costs of course). I love applications.
  3. bruces10

    bruces10 LawnSite Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 7

    You can expect fertilizer prices to increase significantly. Sulfur, which is used in the production of phosphate fertilizers has increased dramatically in the global market. Demand and subsequent market values have been steadily driven up by the appetite in the emerging markets such as China and India. These countries have a lot of mouths to feed and consume a lot of fertilizer. Additionally, sulfur inventories in block in Canada continue to be depleted and what inventories there are are becoming more difficult to bring to market, logistically speaking. Beyond this, new loading facilities have been established in the U.S. Gulf Coast which allow for the more efficient loading and transporting of sulfur to the Asian market. This allows the domestic producers and resellers (either from the mining process or extracted from the petroleum refining process) to tap into the much higher netbacks provided by these other markets.
  4. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    My dealer just told me that every bag is up "at least $4.00 per bag". He will be sending out quotes but they are only good for 30 days. He said there will be smaller (still unknown how small) increases over the year. I have to charge every customer about 25% more per application to stay ahead with the cost of product, gas and insurance. I think I am gonna lose a few this spring.
    How are you going to tell your customers? I can see taking a little bit of a loss but I am not going to be pushing a spreader just for exercise. I am hoping that the bags of Scotts start showing up in the hardware stores with sky high prices as many homeowners look at that price and see what they think they should pay me.
    I think I will sell all my stuff and try and strike oil somewhere.
  5. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720


    What you'll see Scotts and the others doing in the near future, if not already, is either reduce the coverage per bag (lowering the N content), offer smaller bags to try to trick the public.... or, more popularly, make it more "green" by adding 'value added' organics !!

    They'll do anything they can to find their niche in this tough situation, and still protect their margin $ and %.
  6. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    Marcos, I see your point and thank you for bringing that to mind. I have to try and figure out a strategy to retain my customers and if I have to fight the small bag thing its good to know.
    I am just blown off my chair at trying to sell 25% more per application. Apps used to be a good business but just like anything else its over.
  7. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    Well, just like Scotts and the rest of the big brand names in the box stores have done...you may want to consider incorporating more organics into your program.

    Is it cheaper per 1000 sq ft ??
    Not necessary.
    In fact, in a lot of instances it's probably the same...or maybe MORE.

    But the difference is...

    You can go after a whole new 'type' of customer, generally, that isn't as interested in the 'lowest' bid (as much, at least) as they are about YOU using the RIGHT products on their lawn....often, I've found.... "vs" what conventional fertilizer program their neighbor's getting !!:laugh:

    I'm not by any means a 100% organic company.
    I generally use liquid slow release fertilizers from Morral, and Dimension WSP, and the same herbicides and insecticides as everyone else on here.

    But I also strongly market things like supplemental compost tea that is combined with my late fall app, the (optional) service of top dressing of compost after double aeration, and endo-mycorrhyzae applications prior to any renovation & seed work, etc.

    I'm what you call a "bridge" company when it comes to transitioning to organics.
    I want to be ready for the day when anything else isn't an option.
    It's coming before we know it.
  8. tlg

    tlg LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 645

    Keep in mind how the big box stores work. They operate on margin and buying power. The more you buy the better the deal. Retail fertilizer prices don't reflect the huge increases most of us have seen. In fact, retail fert is close to last years prices. Give or take a few dollars. Fertilizer sales are huge for the big boxes. They keep the price down just to get people in the store. For example: Lowe's use to sell a 99 dollar lawn mower. They only made a buck on the thing. They made their money on the up-sells. The sales people would sell you a 5.99 poly gas can with an 85% margin. They did not care about the mower. They made money on the can. What up-sells a bag of fert? A 32.97 spreader with a 65% margin. They sell a lot more gas cans than mowers. Explain that to your customers!
  9. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,207

    Today I dropped by Ace Hardware. Their Scotts "Step 1" with crabgrass control (Pendi) was $19.99. But if you bought all 4 steps it was 64.99 for all four. Covers 5000 sqft per bag. About a third or 9 percent sulfer coat. But there was a $10 rebate (until April 15)--so final cost for four steps was 54.99 plus tax. About 13.75 per bag, plus tax.

    Their phosphorus-free program was only $44.99 for 4 bag program. About 11.25 per bag. Or about 2.25 per 1000 sqft. Plus tax.

    Fine print,
    "Scotts "Lawn Pro line" is not available at big box stores and mass merchants". So, maybe the Home Depot mix has different, or cheaper components.
  10. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    Huh? :confused:

    OK...math tune up time !

    A third= 33% !!
    That's not 9% !!

    When you saw the "9%" listed on the Scott's Step 1 bag label you misinterpreted the meaning.

    Scotts Step 1 crabgrass preventer has a 32-3-8 analysis.
    The "9" is a ratio to 32% nitrogen, NOT a percentage.


    So '9 parts', out of total '32 parts' of nitrogen in the bag, is coated with sulfur.

    Then the rest is division.

    9 / 32 = 28% sulfur coated urea (approx)

    Bear in mind....that all the companies allow for a little "wiggle room" in what they can declare as their sulfur coated ratio !!
    (There's always a + /- factor of at least "1/2" of so)

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