By Roger Chesher

NITROGEN business is slowing down considerably following the recent high levels of interest.

July and August sales have been very brisk indeed, with the consequence that stocks are now low, always an indicator that prices are unlikely to fall.

Harvest, early planting and holidays in the merchant trade are given as the main reason for the slackening interest, which, interestingly, does not apply to sulphur sales which are said to be “flat out”.

Manufacturers are still focussing on the current August price, offers for which remain open until Thursday 23, but it is becoming clearer that 2/t will be the likely price rise into September.

PK business is picking up, with prices varying from 109-113/t, but remember that the really discounted prices only apply for full artic loads to one location.

While sales of existing stocks of imported ammonium nitrate continue at keen prices, importers will not bring in new stocks until business picks up again after harvest.

The slow but steady decline in fertiliser use in the UK is illustrated in the recently published Fertiliser Manufacturers Association Fertiliser Review, which also highlights the much more dramatic decline in the use of lime since 1998.

This decline is worrying, as fertiliser efficiency is greatly reduced on acid land.

Those concerned about recent price rises of nitrogen fertiliser would also be interested to note that, while the nitrogen price index kept pace with fuel prices from January 1994-1999, since then it has been significantly behind.


New-season nitrogen (SP5) 34.5% September 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
August 110-112 112-114 Granular 115-120 88 ex-dock
94-98 delivered
113-115 107-113 120
NPK August, pay cash NS products
Complex 25.5.5 112-118 110-112
15.15.20 No market
20.10.10/29.5.5 118-120
17.17.17 No market
After-cut NK cash 0.24.24 TSP (47% P2O5) bagged Muriate of Potash (60% K2O) bagged
109-114 110-114 125 122


Forecast prices





Complex compounds

Northern Ireland No market 110 130-135 No market 130



Urea, imported


Republic of Ireland* 140-145 175 No market 170-175

*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=UK80.32p; US$1=UK69.20p on 16 August


    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