British farmers either have fertiliser in store now, or at least a good idea what their costs will be at the time of usage.

The same cannot be said of their counterparts in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

Little fertiliser is on farm and merchants are expressing no interest in stocking up at current prices, speculating that at the time of usage prices will drop back.

They have been right in the past.

Ireland has been a trading post for bin-ends of Europe’s fertiliser for many years and farmers stick to their just-in-time philosophy.

The situation is worsened by the difficulty of predicting the size of the market yet to come.

Guidance and legislation on slurry use, nitrogen levels and phosphate directives were expected from the Department of Agriculture in Belfast, but have yet to arrive, leaving grass fertilising policy unclear.

Tillage farmers traditionally engage in reciprocal trading with the grain merchant, having one grand settling up at harvest, when grain is talked up and fertiliser down.

At £150/t plus, the price of CAN in Northern Ireland is equivalent to AN at £200/t. The GB price for AN is set to break £170/t in January.

But there is speculation whether that January price will hold, so perhaps those Irish merchants are right.

Cargoes of imported urea are being delivered to blenders in the Republic to enable them to compete when the usage time comes.

Imported high N blends are reported on the quayside at €195/t, to which €20/t must be added to get it onto farm.

Whether the price dips or not, Irish farmers are in for a shock when spring comes.

CURRENT PRICES (£/t)

Great Britain

Straight

Domestic N (34.5%N) SP5

Dec £160-165
Jan £173

Imported AN (Russian)

£150

Imported urea

£185 granular
£170 prills

Liquid UAN
37kg/100litres (29.6%N/t)

No market

TSP (47%P2O5)

£150+

Muriate of Potash(60%K2O)

£145

Compound

 

Complex

Blended

25.5.5

£155

From £147

15.15.20

£168

 

20.10.10 / 27.5.5

£158

From £151

17.17.17

£173

 

Aftercuts NK

 

No market

27.6.6 (imported)

 

 

32.5.0 (imported)

No market

Autumn grades (PK)

 

£133-135

Trace elements

Copper, zinc, selenium,
cobalt Iodine and sodium

£11.10/acre pack


Ireland

Straight and compound

 

Northern Ireland

Republic of Ireland†

Urea

No market No market
CAN £150+ €170+

24.6.12 aftercut*

No market

No market

25.5.5

£170

 

27.6.6 complex**

£180+

€245-250+ (CCF)
€215 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