By Roger Chesher

INCREASED plantings this autumn, combined with a marked switch towards last-minute fertiliser purchasing, has awakened merchants to the logistical nightmare of getting nitrogen on to farm amid hefty spring demand.

There is strong promotion for moving nitrogen and compounds before Christmas and, while farmers are naturally suspicious of shortage scares, it does make sense to buy as soon as possible.

There should be no shortage of product in the spring, but getting the right product on to farm at the right time will be increasingly difficult.

The problem of finding enough legally qualified drivers and vehicles to carry ammonium nitrate, which is an oxidising agent, is a very real one.

Although this problem has been aired each year for the past two years, supplies have got through.

But, with at least 60% of the market yet to be committed, the task in the spring is much larger than in previous years.

Most pundits agree it remains an early buyers market and one would anticipate domestic nitrogen to be at least 121/t by the spring.

This makes borrowing at less then 1/t per month a worthwhile prospect at todays price of 113/t.

The compound market has settled, with 25.5.5 around 113/t on farm, rising to 115/t in December and 120/t in January.

This 5/t jump is not mirrored by the lower N 20.10.10 products, which move smoothly by 2/t from 119/t this month.


New-season nitrogen (SP5) 34.5% December domestic nitrogen Imported urea Imported AN Blended 20.10.10 and 25.0.16 Blended 25.5.5 Liquid nitrogen, 37kg/100l or 29.6% N/t
November 113-115 No published price; expected 115-118 Granular 115-120 New season; around 99-103 113 107 120
NPK November NS products
Complex 25.5.5 113 117
15.15.20 134
20.10.10/29.5.5 119-120
17.17.17 139-140
After-cut NK cash 0.24.24 TSP (47% P2O5) bagged Muriate of Potash (60% K2O) bagged
112-114 – market virtually over 112-114 125 122


Forecast prices





Complex compounds

Northern Ireland No market 105 122-125 130 124



Urea, imported


Republic of Ireland* 130-140 No market No market 150

*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=UK78.13p; US$1=UK68.26p on 7 November


    Note All illustrated prices are based on 24-tonne loads for immediate payment. Prices for smaller loads and those with credit terms will vary considerably.

    Source: Bridgewater Partnership