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Fertiliser market report

Fertiliser prices in Britain have reached unprecedented levels, a situation that is tolerable only because the value of milk and cereals has also risen. But which came first?

What we are witnessing is a classic application of the rules of supply and demand.

Fertiliser supply is relatively inelastic because new plants or mines cannot be opened or built quickly, so when demand for nutrients increases, products is sold to the highest bidder and prices go up.

Inflated prices

And, global demand for grain is massive.

UK manufacturers are forced to buy P and K raw materials at inflated prices and these must be passed on to the farmer.

Unfortunately we in the UK are used to the cosy world of the 1980s when domestic supply and demand held sway, and it is hard to reconcile ourselves to the cut and thrust of a genuinely global fertiliser economy.

Volatility

The volatility in costs is such that the industry has been forced to pause and take stock.

The market therefore is inactive as manufacturers have withdrawn terms. 

Prices in the table are therefore best estimates for January, which is expected to be the next month for which pricelists are published.

Less rosy for root growers

However, even with farm prices of £195 for AN, £330 for diammonium phosphate and £230 for muriate of potash, the equation can balance out.

These would represent an increase of £25 to £30 per acre in nutrient costs for wheat, whilst output values rise by £250.

The balance remains positive for OSR and dairy enterprises but looks less rosy for root growers and beef and sheep enterprises.

Prices come down as well as up

Some merchants anticipate that fertiliser will be on allocation in the spring and that we can expect ammonium nitrate to finally reach £200/t by March.

As building society adverts are so fond of telling us, prices can come down as well as go up, and this is undoubtedly true in the case of commodities following those inescapable laws of economics.

But, there is always a base in the market and whilst fertiliser prices will eventually undoubtedly come back, they will return to a base that is significantly higher than before.

Sourcing nightmare

Let us hope that a higher base is also to be expected in output prices.

The markets in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland are also affected, but perhaps worse so, because farmers there tend to buy the major tranche of their supplies at the usage period.

Merchants are experiencing a nightmare in sourcing product at prices that will be credible to their spring buyers.

Great Britain

Straight

Domestic N
(34.5%N) SP5

Imported AN 
eg Lithuanian

Imported urea

Liquid UAN
37kg N/100litre

 (28.8 %N/t)

 

 

around £195

January

Limited imports

£188

Granular £250

Prilled  no interest

£200+

 

 

 

TSP (47%P2O5)

£300+ tight availability

 

Muriate of Potash (60%K2O)

£230

 

 

Compound

N.P.K

Complex

Blended

 

 

 

25.5.5

£200

From £190

 

 

 

15.15.20

£249 but priced out of market

 

 

 

 

20.10.10 / 27.5.5

£212-215

From £205

 

 

 

17.17.17

No market

 

 

 

 

Aftercuts (NK)

 

No market

 

 

 

27.6.6 (imported)

 

 

 

 

 

32.5.0 (imported)

 

 No market

 

 

 

Autumn grades (PK)

£240+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trace elements

Copper, zinc, selenium,
cobalt Iodine and sodium

£11.80/acre pack


Ireland

 

Urea

CAN

25.0.13
aftercut*

25.5.5

27.6.6
complex**

Northern
Ireland

No market

No market

No market

£220

No longer used

Phosphate regulations

Republic
of Ireland

No market

No market

No market

 

€320 (CCF)



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.
*Known as 24.2½.10 blend in the Republic of Ireland
**Known as 27.2½.5 in ROI

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

Fertiliser market report

As is so often the case in the fertiliser industry a period of intense activity has been followed by one of disinterest, at least as far as new orders are concerned.

The reason is, of course, a combination of harvest and catching up following bad weather.

Arable farmers have largely stocked up with nitrogen and second cut silage has drifted into big bales with very little interest in after cut fertilisers.

Wet season

The season has been so wet that grazing fertilisers have not generally been purchased.

Manufacturers are still busy, however, fulfilling existing orders. So busy have they been, that October pricing now applies, with nitrogen listed at £168/tonne. Not surprisingly there are few takers.

The next significant market is, traditionally, the autumn PK season. This has been less busy of late as growers increasingly tend to apply these nutrients at any time of the year, and PK “holidays” are also common.

‘Phosphate holidays’

Phosphate prices are still at unprecedented high levels and farmers will be strongly tempted to continue their “holidays”.

Agronomically this could prove to be a big mistake. There are signs of interest in this market with PKs starting in excess of £180/tonne.

Imports, like the rest of the industry, are quiet.

Kemira and Terra

Following disappointment that the joint venture between Kemira and Terra was delayed because of concerns for competition in the industrial chemical side of the business, the Competition Commission is due to consider latest proposals on the 17th of this month.

A “positive” outcome is expected by both parties on the 21st.

It has been difficult for many farmers to perceive this proposal as positive, limiting, as it will, the number of home based ammonia producers to one.

Economies of scale

For some time now the “market” for nitrogen has been pan European, if not global and if we are to retain any kind of British ammonia production, given our gas costs, economies of scale must take place.

The business plan for the new company is in place and we shall see to what extent concerns may be justified when the next big tranche of nitrogen business takes place. This is usually just before Christmas.

Great Britain

Straight

Domestic N
(34.5%N) SP5

Imported AN 
only Lithuanian

Imported urea

Liquid UAN
37kg N/100litre

 (28.8 %N/t)

 

 

around £168

Limited imports

£155+

Granular £185

Prilled  no interest

£145

 

 

 

TSP (47%P2O5)

£230 tight availability

 

Muriate of Potash (60%K2O)

£165 upward trend

 

 

Compound

N.P.K

Complex

Blended

 

 

 

25.5.5

£157

From £152

 

 

 

15.15.20

£190 but priced out of market

 

 

 

 

20.10.10 / 27.5.5

£18

From £158

 

 

 

17.17.17

£200

 

 

 

 

Aftercuts (NK)

 

£157+

 

 

 

27.6.6 (imported)

 

 

 

 

 

32.5.0 (imported)

 

 No market

 

 

 

Autumn grades (PK)

£185

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trace elements

Copper, zinc, selenium,
cobalt Iodine and sodium

£11.80/acre pack


Ireland

 

Urea

CAN

25.0.13
aftercut*

25.5.5

27.6.6
complex**

Northern
Ireland

No market

£140

£160-162

£160

No longer used

Phosphate regulations

Republic
of Ireland

€220

€233

No market

 

€276 (CCF)



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.
*Known as 24.2½.10 blend in the Republic of Ireland
**Known as 27.2½.5 in ROI

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

 

Fertiliser market report

In recent years the fertiliser industry has been accused of crying wolf when it warned of serious delays in delivering spring nitrogen for immediate use.

Somehow, however, difficulties in transportation were always overcome and fertiliser was delivered more or less on time.

This season, warnings were justified with delays of ten days or more being reported in various parts of the country as merchants and manufacturers find it difficult to find enough suitably qualified and registered hauliers.

At least nitrogen fertiliser has not peaked dramatically and remains reasonably affordable around £161/tonne.

With more stability in energy markets, the vital gas feedstock has ceased to be the predominant factor controlling price and supply and demand has now taken over.

The balance is still in favour of maintaining price, but these have been stabilised by the slight weakening of the urea market.

Thank goodness that the atmosphere, the raw material for nitrogen fertiliser is free; it’s the energy that costs. The same, however, cannot be said for compound fertilisers as the price of phosphates has rocketed. This is because of massive increases in demand, recently by the United States with their interest in industrial cropping.

Many high phosphate grades are currently not in production as manufacturers await a return to more reasonable raw material prices.

Where available, triple 17 is in excess of £185/t and, with its higher phosphate content, 20.10.10 is approaching £10/t more expensive than 25.5.5. The price gap between them is normally £3/t.

Despite this, business for all grades of fertiliser is brisk. Deliveries in March and April were above average and there is every sign that the market is catching up on a poor start. Not surprisingly, stocks are dwindling.

The aftercut market is now underway and, as usual, prices mirror those of nitrogen. There is quite a wide spread of analyses in this market giving rise to varied pricing. As ever, careful cost comparisons are essential to spot the real bargains.

Last year saw an early start to the new season and there is speculation that this will happen again with prices for nitrogen revealed before the end of May.  Farm values around £152/t are forecast.

Meanwhile, prices in Ireland have come as a shock to local farmers who tend to buy exclusively at the usage period and are therefore blind to continuing trends throughout the year.

Sellers are experiencing strong sabre rattling from the market place which still can’t quite accommodate to world prices following the loss of a strongly state subsidised local manufacturer.

The reality is that Irish farm prices, especially nitrogen, are currently considerably below world prices causing significant losses for the manufacturer.

Great Britain

Straight

Domestic N
(34.5%N) SP5

Imported AN 
only Lithuanian

Imported urea

Liquid UAN
37kg N/100litre
 (29.6%N/t)

 

Around £160

UK stocks
£150-155

Granular £205-210

Prilled no interest

£145

TSP (47%P2O5) £185 upward trend  
Muriate of Potash (60%K2O) £154 upward trend  

Compound

N.P.K

Complex

Blended

     

25.5.5

£160

From £150

     

15.15.20

£175

 

     

20.10.10 / 27.5.5

£165

From £158

     

17.17.17

£185

 

     

Aftercuts (NK)

 

£150-155

     

27.6.6 (imported)

 

 

     

32.5.0 (imported)

 

No market

     

Autumn grades (PK)

No market

No market

     

 

 

 

     

Trace elements Copper, zinc, selenium,
cobalt Iodine and sodium

£11.80/acre pack

Ireland

 
Urea
CAN
24.6.12
aftercut**
25.5.5
27.6.6
complex***
Northern
Ireland
No market £140 £160-162 £160 No longer used Phosphate regulations
Republic†
of Ireland
€220 €233 No market  

€276 (CCF)

*†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.
*Known as 24.2½.10 blend in the Republic of Ireland
**Known as 27.2½.5 in ROI

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

Fertiliser market report

 Forward Planning

The purchase of nitrogen in the modern fertiliser market requires a thorough grasp of the politics of energy supplies, particularly natural gas.

As China becomes a more prolific purchaser, the buying power of the West weakens and America and Europe must become attuned to paying higher prices.

The low prices of the last decade will never return, but for Britain there is at least the optimism that new interconnects gradually coming on stream will at least even prices out a little and bring an end to the high forward pricing witnessed last winter.

And, thank goodness, there are already signs this is starting to happen as forward prices are not as high as originally anticipated.

They are, however, still high enough to put home produced 34.5% ammonium nitrate above £170/t at the height of winter.

Not surprisingly plants are currently running flat out to make the most of “reasonably priced” raw materials and the manufacturers’ expectations are for a price of £161/t on farm now, and £168 in October.

This is lower than anticipated at the start of the season.

Current indications are the volume of early season AN sales has been equally as high as last year, but compressed into a shorter, earlier period.

This is despite very buoyant sales of competitively priced urea. But, after a bumper sales period the market has inevitably stagnated somewhat and merchants now wait to see what acreage has been drilled following harvest.

There is optimism that total demand will return to that of several years ago and there are currently no fears supply will fail to meet it.

Importers are concentrating on supplies of attractively priced urea at present with cheaper AN hard to source. The anti-dumping levy, they claim, is forcing Russia to find more lucrative markets to the detriment of the UK farmer, but as home produced AN rises in price, imports will start to trickle in at some £10/t cheaper.

Sales of grassland grades are now running steadily as farmers seek to recoup growth delayed by drought. Prices for these have hardly changed.

The Irish market is quiet as usual at this time being normally focused on the usage periods.

Within the industry there is more talk and speculation about mergers and acquisitions.

Such activities operate on a cyclical basis, the last significant occurrence in the UK being the closure of the Yara plants at Immingham.

No one is prepared to commit at present but is does seem that significant readjustment is imminent within the European industry.

 

Great Britain

Straight
Domestic N
(34.5%N) SP5
Imported AN 
Russian Lithuanian
Imported urea Liquid UAN
37kg N/100litre
 (29.6%N/t)
September pricing now  £160-161 Poor supplies
£151
Granular £168-172 £168 pay December

 

TSP (47%P2O5) £141  
Muriate of Potash (60%K2O) £141  

 

Compound
N.P.K Complex Blended
25.5.5 £149 From £142
15.15.20 £174  
20.10.10 / 27.5.5 £152 From £145
17.17.17 £178  
Aftercuts (NK)   £148-(low analysis£ 144)
27.6.6 (imported)    
32.5.0 (imported)   No market
Autumn grades (PK)   £127+

 

Trace elements Copper, zinc, selenium,
cobalt Iodine and sodium

£11.80/acre pack

 

Ireland

  Urea CAN 24.6.12
aftercut**
25.5.5 27.6.6
complex***
Northern
Ireland
No market £152 £180 £170 £180
Republic†
of Ireland
No data, but competitive €220-225 €275  

€275 (CCF)

€245 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.
*Known as 24.2½.10 blend in the Republic of Ireland
**Known as 27.2½.5 in ROI


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

Fertiliser market report

All ammonia plants in the UK are now shut down because of excessively high gas feedstock prices, with the exception of the joint Kemira/BP unit at Hull, which relies on BP-generated hydrogen.

They are joined by the plants of four or five makers in Europe.

Gas prices are still fluctuating violently, at 60-70p/therm this week, over 1/therm last.

By buying in ammonia to make ammonium nitrate instead of making it with gas, UK manufacturers are paying a sum that equates to buying gas at 45-55p/therm.

Although Britain was unaffected by the Russo-Ukrainian gas crisis, its mid-term plans are to boost gas supplies from that source.

As a result, the industry is alerted to its own vulnerability and the long-term agenda for energy supplies will surely now include alternatives.

Ultimately, ammonia manufacture is not solely reliant upon gas.

A variety of hydrogen and energy supplies could be used to fabricate ammonia.

Meanwhile, order books for fertiliser are low and manufacturers have no problems in supplying those who have already booked supplies.

January will undoubtedly be a much lower month for orders than usual but manufacturing continues, albeit at inflated costs.

So, when spot buyers emerge in March, their product costs will still be based at today’s high levels.

Interestingly, the high cost of nitrogen compared with other nutrients has evened out price levels within the range of compound fertilisers: 20.10.10, for example, is now priced the same as the normally cheaper 25.5.5.

Blends are competitively priced at present as their manufacturers, with raw materials in stock, compete for market share.

Fertiliser market report

The gas crisis is having a tremendous impact on the production and price of UK-manufactured ammonium nitrate.

Surprisingly, demand for gas has been no greater than in previous years, so high prices must be a response to fears of inadequate future supply.

Fertiliser produced at today’s gas price would significantly exceed 200/t.

Terra has responded by turning down production and using bought-in ammonia at Teesside, but must continue to use gas at Severnside, maximising the use of gas at lower forward market prices.

Kemira chose the best time to shut down ammonia production for maintenance and is using bought-in ammonia to make fertiliser.

Ammonia at $367/t (216) equates roughly to gas at 55p/ therm.

Daily UK gas prices have peaked at 1.80/therm.

The company has some AN available at 165/t pre-Christmas and 175/t for January, but cannot hold these prices much longer.

Terra withdrew all prices late last week and is expected to post 173/t for January and even more for the spring.

Compounds are up by about 3/t, but will rise by 10/t in January.

The hope is that grassland farmers will buy before Christmas.

However, no-one seems to be buying, adopting a wait-and-see approach instead.

The size of the market to come remains a massive unknown.

Fertiliser market report

As this extraordinary fertiliser year draws to an end, the prospect for what remains of the 2004/05 season is shrouded in uncertainty.

While some prices have been published forward to March, domestic suppliers are hindered by lack of availability. In turn, disbelief at high prices and a fatalistic attitude of “wait and see” by remaining buyers, almost exclusively grassland farmers, has led to little or no current sales at the farm gate.

Unquantified factors in the grass sector, such as the number of herds near to quota, a switch to maize and wholecrop forages and businesses leaving the industry, make the remaining market potential very hard to forecast.

All this leads to a lack of confidence for importers who do not want to bring in cargoes unless they have a ready market, so imports also look to be in short supply.

However, a weak dollar has helped the price of prilled urea to fall back to 165/t, restoring the differential between it and the usually more expensive granular material, now priced at 195/t.

Imported 27.6.6 and 32.5.0. are not priced attractively against domestic supplies and little is planned for shipment.

Even a downturn in the autumn PK fertiliser price has failed to stimulate sales, which are estimated to be 25% below those of last year. Arable farmers are generally more aware that the timing of these applications is not critical, or may be taking a PK holiday at a time of high prices.

FERTILISER MARKET REPORT

6 July 2001

FERTILISER MARKET REPORT

July 2001 (£/t delivered)*

N UK SP5 N UK SP5 Imported urea Imported AN

New season (July) August Granular New season (yet to arrive)

£108-£110 £110-£112 £118-120 Approx £98

NPK complex NS top dressing

25.5.5** 20.10.10** 15.15.20 17.17.17 New season

£118-£120 £121 £143 £148 £108-£110

* All prices based on 20t loads for cash payment month following. Prices for smaller loads and 50kg bags will vary.

** For blended prices, deduct £5/t.

By Bridgewater

Partnership

The new season has started with market leaders Terra pitching nitrogen prices at a similar level to the start of the 2000/01 season -£108-110/t on farm (Business, June 29).

Merchants were told of these prices last week and will have now received their price lists to enable them to start trading.

Inevitably, the trade is testing the manufacturer to see what cracks exist in their resolve, but they are unlikely to be successful. The price is as stated, it goes up by £2/t next month, its cash only and Terra will export ammonia if necessary when stocks become high.

Good deals are currently to be had in imported granular urea, but this is unlikely to appeal in great volume to the seasoned early buyer.

Current interest rates should favour the early buyer who will probably consider the risk worth taking again this season, given anticipated spring demand. However, exchange rates will make imports that little bit more costly and their impact on the price of phosphate, all of which has to be imported, is significant.

How that will translate into the fiercely competitive autumn PK market has yet to be seen, but with anticipated higher demand one should expect prices to creep upwards.

Apart from nitrogen-sulphur compounds, which bizarrely are classified as straight nitrogen by law, compound prices have not changed. Kemira, leaders in this segment of the market, will probably once more set the pace for granular compounds, with Terra positioning their range as quality blends.

for kicking off the new season has gone, so the market looks to Terra, the leaders in nitrogen, to signal new prices, presumably in a week or two. A starting price, on farm around £109/t, is probable but the big question is whether this will tempt the early buyer.

There is little interest in new season imports as yet, as importers seek to clear old stocks, but with ammonium nitrate prices globally on the decline, new imports should be competitively priced.

The structure of the new market will ultimately depend upon demand, currently way down thanks to foot-and-mouth, a wet autumn and increased set aside. Stories of wall to wall wheat after this harvest could increase demand and firm the price.

It could well be, just, another season where the early buyer benefits.

Current interest rates should favour the early buyer, given anticipated spring demand. However, exchange rates will make imports that little bit more expensive and their impact on the price of phosphate, all of which has to be imported, is significant.

How that will translate into the fiercely competitive autumn PK market has yet to be seen. But, with anticipated higher demand, prices are expected to creep upwards.

Apart from nitrogen-sulphur compounds – which bizarrely are classified as straight nitrogen by law – compound prices have not changed from last year. Kemira, the leaders in this segment of the market, will probably once more set the pace for granular compounds, with Terra positioning their range as quality blends.

    Read more on:
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FERTILISER MARKET REPORT

5 March 1999

MM cuts could hit ex-farm milk prices

EX-FARM milk prices are under pressure again following Milk Marques decision to reduce indicative prices in an attempt to break the recent deadlock with the trade.

In the first selling round four weeks ago, dairy companies bid for just 25% of the April-September milk on offer. So, after discussions with buyers, the co-op has cut second round prices by 0.7p/litre.

The most popular Varying Supply contract is now valued at 20.5p/litre, the same price achieved in last Augusts selling round. And two higher priced premium contracts, at 20.8p and 21.8p/litre, are now 1p and 1.5p/litre below that level.

If these contracts attract the same proportion of bids as last August, prices at the farm gate are likely to drop by about 0.2p/litre, says Roger Metcalf of Agrifood Consultants. But he believes prices are still too high to clear the market, given the recent strengthening of sterling and world oversupply of all dairy commodities.

However, MM hopes that bidding patterns will change.

"While there is no getting away from the strength of sterling, our service levels are much improved for supply-led (cheaper) contracts and our market-led contracts are now highly competitive," says managing director Paul Beswick.

&#8226 Dairy Crest is blaming the latest MM prices and the strong pound for a cut in farm milk prices from April 1. Values will fall by 0.8p/litre if supply groups insist that DC sticks to its existing six-month price contract. This takes the price of a standard litre (4.1% butterfat and 3.25% protein) down to19.6p/litre. But groups opting for a new monthly price review face less of a cut, thought to be about 0.2-0.3p/litre. Meanwhile Express Dairies has acquired wholesale dairy and fresh food supplier Star Dairies Food Services and certain assets of Star Dairies International for a cash consideration of £2.7m. The move strengthens Expresss position in London. &#42

Beware surprise haulage charges

FARMERS selling grain should plan contract tonnages more carefully tpo avoid unexpected charges following the recent introduction of 40t gross weight trucks.

A recent change in the law means many artics can now carry 27t of grain, 2t more than before, says Andrew Graham, a farm business consultant at Strutt and Parkers Salisbury, Wilts, office.

Most contracts are rounded up to the nearest 50 or 100t, he notes. "A 200t contract used to be a straightforward eight loads. Now it is 7.4. Farmers could be hit by capped (part) load charges on the last small load."

Typical charges vary from £2.30 to £5.50/t, he says. In the example above, this could add £25-60 to haulage fees.

However, Gary Sharkey, of merchant BDR Agriculture, says many lorries carry at least 27t fully loaded. Seven of these would be sufficient for a 200t sale, since the amount of grain collected would fall within the 5% tolerance on a UKASTA contract.

"There is likely to be more of a problem on 100t contracts," he suggests. Rather than taking part loads, hauliers will want to fill their trucks, he suggests.

"Four lorries could collect at least 110t. We would pay for the extra at the spot price on the day of collection. Alternatively, farmers could agree the exact tonnage."

FW farms manager John Lambkin, at Easton Lodge, Lincs, favours that approach even though he recently made more money by loading bigger lorries.

"We sold 125t of feed wheat forward for collection in January at £78/t. Five 27t lorries collected 135t. I was paid in full though the spot price had fallen to £70/t. I won £80, but it could easily have been the other way round. &#42

FERTILISER MARKET REPORT

(Prices February 1999 £/t)

Region Domestic AN Imported AN Urea Prills 10.10.10 20.10.10

blend compound

South-east 95-97 78-82 NM 107-109 114-116

South-west 94-96 78-83 95-98 106-110 110-115

East Anglia 95-97 76-82 89-94 102-109 112-115

Midlands 93-98 76-82 88-94 100-108 110-116

Wales 95-98 80-87 NM NM NM

North-east 93-97 77-83 89-93 102-108 113-116

North-west 95-98 78-84 NM 108-111 114-116

Scotland 95-97 76-84 NM 107-111 114-116

Source: Britannia Fertiliser Brokers and Consultants

By Mike Stickland

The weather, particularly in the west, has limited fertiliser demand; while in the east, weak crop prices are having the same effect. The trade is certainly less busy than one would expect for the beginning of March.

Some merchants are forecasting a massive 15% plus fall in the market, while there are a few who think that there are a lot of sales still to come. The one bright spot has been prilled urea, and in many areas sales volumes are well up, as farmers take advantage of the lowest possible price per unit of N.

There is still a persistent demand for PK fertilisers, and blenders are finding some difficulties in maintaining supply of triple superphosphate mixes when the main market is for mono-ammonium phosphate and di-ammonium phosphate blends.

Prices have changed very little over the month, although manufacturers and importers are continually trying to push them up. There is insufficient demand in the market to make prices move.

Cargoes of imported nitrogen are becoming much more difficult and a little dearer to source, but this perception has not had any impact on the farm. A week of fine dry weather will certainly make a big difference.

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FERTILISER MARKET REPORT

31 May 1996

FERTILISER MARKET REPORT

By Mike Stickland

The market is very fragmented and difficult to define at the moment.

In grassland regions, the dry and colder-than-usual weather – combined with BSE fears – have created a market in which very small lots predominate. And here there has been little price deterioration on imported nitrogen (about £130/t) although domestic production has slipped back slightly to about £145/t.

In the south, there has been talk of new seasons business for imports at new prices, some of which have been substantially cheaper than the pattern (£113 to £120/t). There have also been the odd cheap prices for product to clear out stores. There has been some business done with urea which appears to have reaped the benefit of the bottom of the market (granular £149/t in bags).

A flurry of early activity in the PK market started far too low, but prices generally have hardened and now stand at around £124/t. This is likely to be untenable for long as potash and triple superphosphate have risen.

The aftercut market has been disappointing, but prices for national brands have remained solid at about £145/t.


Fertiliser prices, June 1996

RegionDomestic ANImported ANPK 0-24-24NK 25-0-16*

South-east142-145115-132123-125135-144

South-west141-145117-134123-125136-145

East Anglia140-145115-130122-125137-144

Midlands142-146120-132123-125135-145

Wales144-147132-136NM138-146

North-east143-146132-136124-125138-146

North-west143-147134-137NM136-147

Scotland142-146133-136NMNM

* Lower figure, blends, higher figure, complex granules

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