THE SPRING usage period accounts for over 80% of fertiliser sales in both the Republic and Northern Ireland, in contrast to Great Britain.

The trade has been anxiously watching the rapidly rising price patterns across Europe, and nothing has yet encouraged the merchant to buy stocks or commit to cargoes.

As in Britain, Ireland is faced with an unknown quantity in terms of market volumes this spring.

Indeed, more so because grassland farmers provide a higher percentage volume of total market sales.

These farmers are still unable to commit because of CAP reform and its impact on decision making.

They are also being encouraged to review fertiliser policy by Government advice based on the environmental impacts of phosphate and nitrogen use.

So the merchant cannot gauge the market volume or market pricing, and the blender is unable to plan, not knowing the cost of imported raw materials.

But the culture of settling merchant prices retrospectively mitigates unknown import costs to a degree.

This practice, once conveniently blamed on IFI, has continued since the demise of that state owned producer.

Whilst it ensures a margin for the merchant, it may not be in the best interests of the farmer.

Benchmark prices for Ireland (below) have crept up by £5-10/t, while the hiatus in Britain continues as the trade prepares pricing for the rest of the season.

CURRENT PRICES (£/t)

Nitrogen (Domestic) N  (SP5) 34.5%

Domestic AN Spring

Imported  urea.

Imported AN Lithuan

Blended
20.10.10 & 27.5.5

Blended
25.5.5

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

Jan £157

Feb £158.50 Mar £160

£195 granular
£165 prills

£147

where available

£150

From £146

No market yet

 

NPK

Jan (add £3 for March)

Imported
27.6.6

Imported
32.5.0

Complex 25.5.5

£154

No supplies

No supplies

15.15.20

£168

 

20.10.10/ 27.5.5

£158

 

17.17.17

£173

 

 

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
Blended £126-135 £150 £130

Ireland

Benchmark prices. Compounds out of season.

 

Urea, existing stocks only

CAN

24.6.12

aftercut

25.5.5

 

Complex compounds
27.6.6.

Northern
Ireland

£200 £150

£175-180 (anticipated)

£165-175 £175-180

 

Republic of
Ireland*

CAN, large price variations

24.2½.10 blend

Urea
Granular, non EU          

27.2½ .5

 

 €220 €240-250+
€270-280
(dependant on source and quality)
€240-250 (CCF)
€240 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