TERRA NITROGEN has, as anticipated, published terms for early season ammonium nitrate this week (ending June 18).

At £120/t cash delivered for 20t loads the price is structured to rise by £2/t a month and, with the inclusion of a couple of larger price hikes later in the season, is expected to reach a minimum of £135/t during March 2005.

Not surprisingly, Kemira Growhow, the smaller of Britain‘s two fertiliser ammonia producers, immediately followed suit and will be shortly joined by Yara which imports fertiliser from its European factories.

Farmers will be disappointed by the need to pay an additional £7/t over last year’s spring levels but the forward market for gas is currently so high that nitrogen price rises could be even steeper than Terra’s price list suggests.

Compound pricing is not set to change until October, apart from NS products, which still only attract a £2/t premium for their sulphur content.

Ammonium nitrate is now very much a commodity and its price is subject to factors operating on a global stage and therefore is generally out of the control of any individual manufacturer.

However, nitrogen pricing tends to mask very real differences in the “big three” manufacturers that have gradually developed over the past few years.

Terra’s strength is indeed nitrogen, having two ammonia plants efficiently supplying all sectors of the market.

Kemira has one ammonia plant but is the leader in sulphur grades and complex compounds.
It is strong in advisory services with a large team in the field.

Yara leads in liquid technology, has a wide range of products – some specialist and unique – and is able to operate flexibly through it regional locations.

All three now operate via different routes to market and the days when a merchant would offer grades from more than one “major” are numbered.

With increasing diversification, the question as to how much any individual farmer will shop around for products other than ammonium nitrate will depend on the degree to which all fertilisers are considered a commodity, or part of stronger technical, scientific and advisory partnerships within the food chain.

Nitrogen (Domestic) N  (SP5) 34.5%

New season N

Imported  urea.

Imported AN Lithan

Blended
20.10.10 & 29.5.5

Blended
25.5.5

Liquid
Nitrogen,
37kilos/100
litres
Or
29.6%N/t

£120

£120

 

No market yet

No market yet

£128

From £125

No market yet

 

NPK

April

Imported
27.6.6

Imported
32.5.0

Complex 25.5.5

£133

£138

£128

15.15.20

£155

 

20.10.10/ 29.5.5

£137

 

17.17.17

£160

 

 

Trace elements 0.24.24 TSP (47%P2O5) Muriate of
Potash (60%K2O)
Copper, zinc, selenium,
cobalt Iodine and sodium Per acre pack £11.10
New season £131 £140 £127

Ireland

Benchmark prices

Northern
Ireland

Urea, existing stocks only

CAN

24.6.12

aftercut

25.5.5

 

Complex compounds
27.6.6.

 

£155-60

£130-34

£160 (anticipated)

£150-52

£160-62

 

Republic of
Ireland*

CAN, large price variations

24.2½.10 blend

Urea
Granular, non EU          

27.  2.5  5

 

 €195 €190-210 (Russian)
€225-240
€200-250
(dependant on source and quality)
€243 (CCF)
€200 import blend

*Note in the Republic of Ireland nutrients are expressed as elements not oxides.  Analyses will not be directly comparable with those used in the UK.
                  
Note All illustrated prices are based upon 24 tonne loads for immediate payment. Prices for smaller loads and those with credit terms will vary considerably.

       Source: Bridgewater