It is business as usual at GrowHow, Britain’s sole producer of ammonium nitrate. As widely reported, the ownership of the company remains 50/50 between Yara and Terra, with the latter entering into a partnership agreement with CF Industries to become an even larger US fertiliser producer.
The impact of this on GrowHow will probably be far less than it would have been had the original deal with Yara gone ahead, but whatever that impact may be can only be speculated.
Meanwhile, Yara still has ambitions ultimately to enter North America and to grow global market share.
The industry focus at present rests on delivering outstanding orders, particularly NPKs. In fact, there is some pressure to clear backlogs before mid-April as farmers are starting to apply nutrients.
Stocks of ammonium nitrate are again available, both Nitram (GrowHow) and imports. Domestic material is priced at £235-248/t on-farm while imported AN stock is selling for around £220/t. Freshly imported material would be £235/t, so merchants have served their customers well.
Global urea prices are weakening, but at this time of year any material sold on farm is also coming from stock, at a range of prices from £210/t.
Supplies of potassium, held back from sale by the road salt crisis, are still tight. Muriate is hard to find as a straight for on-farm use; if available it would be around £345/t. Blenders are coping, however, and continue to produce NPK.
Phosphate values, for once, are also stable.
Prices of complex compounds have now stabilised and barring any major global price shifts, should stay flat into the spring.
Agronomically, our winter snows have made soil mineral nitrogen levels hard to call so nitrogen sampling might be worthwhile this year.