OIL AND FERTILISER prices are only indirectly linked, but the fact that the former have reached a 14-year high has altered customers’ expectations and sparked interest for the new fertiliser season.

While ammonia and gas costs are not sky high compared with oil, there is an upward trend which is placing pressure on import prices.

The current spot market for nitrogen is still very quiet, but prompted by fuel costs, buying groups and large farming companies are expressing interest in new prices earlier than usual.

This means that the season could well start in June rather than July, perhaps with a heady round of trading at the Cereals event, as of old.

A short run of aggressively priced nitrogen, at around £116/t, would reward early buyers and get the UK manufacturers off to a good start.

But their challenge will be to control orders to match monthly production, so as to avoid manufacturing cheaply sold nitrogen with expensive gas later in the season, as happened this year.

At the same time, phosphate and potash costs are hardening and forecasts for the winter cereal-sowing season are currently around £131/t for 0.24.24.

Meanwhile, high nitrogen, NK and NKS compounds continue to move in the grassland areas with prices pegged slightly down compared with last month as supply still marginally exceeds demand.

There are changes at the top within Yara as UK managing director Doug Shaw moves to Italy to fulfil a wider European role. Robin Cattermole will succeed him in July.

Nitrogen (Domestic) N  (SP5) 34.5%

Aftercut KN

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

£129

£127

 

No market

£115

£128

From £125

£128

 

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