By Roger Chesher

AT last there are signs that things are starting to happen in the fertiliser business, both in terms of movement and rationalisation.

But, neither is happening very quickly, and March and April will be record months if everything is to be delivered on time.

Compounds, both complex and blends, are starting to move now, obviously those for spring usage predominating.

Arable top-dressing products and sulphur products lead but the grass grades are beginning to start.

Currently there seems to be a 10/t differential between complex and blends with blended 20.10.10 about 97/tonne.

Phosphate costs have hardened phosphorous-rich potato grades to about 132/t for complex 17.17.17 and 126/127 for 15.15.20; but only the Channel Islands are buying as yet. Everywhere else is too wet.

The majors report a hardening of nitrogen prices, with the achievement of sales at 90-93/t in some areas. Prices in the high 80s/t are still around, but wont last long.

Volumes of imported nitrogen are low, if not non-existent.

Farm business in Ireland will still be extremely quiet until the usage period, when farmers will collect from the myriad small merchants who are finally starting to stock up.

Prices are meaningless there at the moment, although one small parcel of granular urea is being traded at 120/t on farm.

No one seems to be taking a forward position on imports as yet.

Kemira has announced an immediate reorganisation to facilitate its strategy of seeking ownership deals or joint ventures for the nitrogen business.

Kemira Agro has been split into two units, Kemira Agro Nitrogen and Kemira Agro Specialties, with the UK and several continental units being included in KAN.

The Ince based UK business will become one geographic centre with Bob Chorlton as General Manager. The former commercial supremo, Dick Davies left the company yesterday to pursue other interests. This is a logical step to prepare the business for new ownership agreements.

CURRENT MARKETS

Immediate delivery N (SP5) March delivery N pay April Imported urea Imported N deliver December Blended 20.10.10 Blended 25.5.5 Liquid N, 37kg/100l or 29.6% N/t
£88-93/FONT> £93 Granular/prilled – no market £79.50 higher quality £97 £90 £95/100,000 litres or £76/t

NPK January/February, pay April
Complex 25.5.5 100-103
20.10.10/29.5.5 February 107-110
17.17.17 February 132

N/S (High S) N/S (Low S) TSP (47% P2O5) Muriate of Potash (60% K2O)
87 87 125 120

 

IRELAND

  Imported urea

CAN

0.23.24

0.16.36

Complex compounds

Northern Ireland No market No market No market No market No market
 

CAN

0.10.20

Urea, imported

0.7.30

Republic of Ireland* No market No market 130 No market

*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.

*Prices in the Republic are IR£

 

Note All illustrated prices are based upon 20 tonne loads for immediate payment. Prices for smaller loads and those with credit terms will vary considerably.

Source: Bridgewater Partnership