By Roger Chesher

MARCHS fertiliser prices are being held over to April by some suppliers, allowing time for orders placed now to be fulfilled later.

With somewhere between 4-800,000 tonnes of nitrogen due to be transported to British farms between now and June, suppliers would expect to be currently at full stretch given that spreading conditions are now ideal in most of England, as warm, dry conditions prevail.

But, with the tragedy of foot-and-mouth disease, the only trickle of movement is to arable farms, merchants are flat out with feed deliveries, reps are at home and the fertiliser market is dead.

The situation is such that one could expect a temporary slowing of production before long, through lack of storage space, with consequent impact later in the supply chain.

The industry simply will not be able to cope with demand when it comes, and farmers will, to a certain extent, have to accept fertiliser when they can get it, rather than on demand.

Wherever possible, therefore, it would be wise to order fertiliser now to secure a place in the queue.

The supply situation for imports in late March and April is now quite stable with prices around 110/t c.i.f. (carriage, insurance and freight).

With offloading, delivery and margin this still puts it on farm at around 125/t.

Potash prices have moved very little, but phosphate is edging upwards.

Leftover autumn fertiliser from the disastrous drilling season could be a good buy if you can find it.

Farm prices in Ireland are still not firm.

After years of being caught out, for once it seems that the early buyer of fertiliser will have prospered.


New-season nitrogen (SP5) 34.5% Anticipated spring price nitrogen Imported urea (if available) Imported AN (new season) Blended 20.10.10 and 25.0.16 Blended 25.5.5 Liquid nitrogen, 37kg/100l or 29.6% N/t
March 134
April 134
Granular 144
Prilled 132
March 125 124-126 121-123 140
NPK March, pay cash April, pay cash (forecast)
Complex 25.5.5 132 132
27N30S 138
20.10.10/29.5.5 135 135
17.17.17 151 151
After-cut NK cash 0.24.24 TSP (47% P2O5) bagged Muriate of Potash (60% K2O) bagged
No market 114-116 135-140 115-118



  Imported urea




Complex compounds

Northern Ireland Granular 160
Prills 140+
130 158-161 No market 155-158



Urea, imported


Republic of Ireland* 160 188 Granular 190 185

*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

  • IR1=UK80.71p; US$1=UK68.31p on 07 March


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

    Source: Bridgewater Partnership