The British fertiliser season runs from June to the end of the following May, whereas in Ireland it more sensibly matches the usage period and runs from October to the end of September.

In both Northern Ireland and the Republic there is now activity to settle outstanding transactions with merchants and prepare for the forthcoming season.

Normally a price list would be issued to merchants and distributors in October but this did not happen in 1998 and much of the market was based on “trust”.

Similar circumstances seem likely to occur this year, which is good news for the farmer as trust usually results in lower prices at the farm gate.

Irish prices this season have been higher than those in Britain but increased imports and fierce competition should reduce this differential in future.

While, unlike their British counterparts, Irish farmers tend only to take fertiliser onto farm at the usage period, some product will be taken into store by merchants. However, there is still no strong early nitrogen market anticipated.

The market is dominated by Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN) at about 600,000 tonnes followed by urea sales at 150,000 tonnes and is fairly evenly split between Irish Fertiliser Industries (IFI) who trade as Richardsons in the North, Kemira, Blenders and Importers from western European suppliers.

With five large co-ops supplying over 50% of the farm business in the Republic, this combination of relatively powerful buyers and plentiful suppliers should act in favour of the farmer.

The table below shows how prices in both North and South have dropped at the end of the season.

The one product currently moving onto farm in Eire is 0.23.24 at £IR 140/t.

CURRENT MARKETS

Immediate delivery N Post-harvest delivery N September delivery N Imported urea Imported N deliver December Imported 0.26.26 Domestic 0.24.24 blended Liquid N, 37kg/100l or 29.6% N/t
£85 £87-89 dependent on month £90 £93 granular/
£85 prilled
£73 £120 £112-116 £95/100,000 litres or £76/t

 

IRELAND

  Imported CAN

CAN

27.6.6 complex

25.5.5 complex

24.6.12 complex

Northern Ireland 85 85 122 112 120
 

CAN

27.21/2.5

18.6.12

10.10.20

Republic of Ireland* 100-104 140-145 No market 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£

 

FORTHCOMING MARKETS

Anticipated general prices post-harvest

N/S (High S) N/S (Low S) TSP (47% P2O5) Muriate of Potash (60% K2O) PK 0.24.24
91 91 130 117 120

 

BACKGROUND MARKET

Products not currently traded in volume.
Some spot business in grass sectors.

  20.10.10 and 25.5.5 complex/blend* KN KNS 20.5.15
England/Wales Grassland Markets 100-105/95-100 90-95 90-95 90-95
England Arable Markets No Market 93-96 93-96 93-96
Scotland 108-112/103-108 90-95 90-95 90-95

*Complex fertilisers are those where typically all nutrients are combined in one granule.

15.15.20 17.17.17
£128 £130-135

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 Associates

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