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It is already two weeks since the Cereals event. This proved again to be a well attended show with many stimulating conversations revolving around the move in commodity prices that are having an impact on all farm businesses.

On the one hand grain/ oilseed values continue to look very positive with large increases over the last 12 months, but this is slightly tempered by the rising fertilizer prices – most notably phosphate, potash and urea. The latter has demonstrated just how volatile world markets are moving from record lows 12 months ago to record highs this year.

Clearly with the poorer efficiency associated with urea, nitrogen products based on ammonium nitrate are the correct choice. With regard to the phosphate and potash products then this is a good year to have a thorough assessment of your need for P and K.

This review process will clearly need good data to improve any changes made to a traditional approach – the central issue being recent soil analysis. With this soil data in hand and the proposed cropping, decisions on rates can be made.

It is also worth considering the timing of application. Yara R & D has shown the increased uptake of P with their fertilizer by spring applications and thus the improved efficiency. With a more efficient system clearly there is less necessity to match nutrients exactly and lower rates can be used.