Applying nitrogen to Winter wheat© Tim Scrivener

Cashflow, steady prices and bad weather are holding growers back from ordering further fertiliser, prompting warnings of logistical challenges in mid- to late March.

Traders believe about 20% of the spring nitrogen market is yet to be booked in arable areas and up to 60% of the spring grassland market.

Apart from slightly tight urea supply, availability is no problem. UK-produced ammonium nitrate is currently available at a flat price through to the end of April, giving growers little incentive to commit at this stage.

See also: Stewardship arable offers – what is involved?

For full loads, this ranges from £238-£243/t delivered, although a delivery squeeze later in the spring could see this rise, warn traders.

Urea prices have fluctuated, but seem to have settled at about £248-£255/t, while straights are showing signs of strengthening as blenders gear up for their busy spring period.

Recent wet and cold weather has delayed the first nitrogen application on many arable crops

Those looking for a repeat of keen early offers on autumn urea, as in the past couple of years, may be disappointed this spring. Markets are firm and traders are not expecting any autumn prices to be available until late spring, unless there is an unexpected price drop that may bring offers forward.

A late spring start to the urea campaign would be interesting timing as it could clash with the new-season campaign for UK AN.

Fertiliser update (£/t delivered March 2018)*

UK 34.5% N

Granular urea (46% N)

Imported AN

20.10.10 (blend)





Potash (MOP)  

Phosphate (DAP)

Phosphate (TSP)

25.5.5 (blend)





*All illustrated prices are based on full loads for cash payment on 28-day terms, unless otherwise indicated.