By Roger Chesher

A VISIT to one of the major ammonium nitrate producers this week illustrated just how rapidly things can change when the fertiliser market gets going.

Whereas just a month ago all kinds of product was stored around the plant, today the cupboard is virtually bare with nitrogen and some compounds now on allocation.

The swing in the supply-and-demand equation continues to push up the price of nitrogen, with some March orders even taken at 110/t.

This price is an exception however, with most prices around 97-103/t for new business on-farm as we go into March, and the expectation of a norm around 105/t later in the month.

Imports are limited to those cargoes booked earlier and there is no guarantee that these will turn up.

New business is very limited or not available at all, with urea very tight.

Prilled urea is trading about 97/t on-farm, with granular totally unavailable. Imported prilled AN should be around 94/t on-farm for new business.

If rapidly rising nitrogen prices are causing concern at the farm gate, some consolation can be had in that compounds are not following so steeply.

This is partly because the supply-demand balance is less critical and partly due to the natural reluctance of manufacturer and merchant to place undue pressure on farm input costs.

In Ireland, cold wet weather has stilted activity, and little has changed since last week.

Phosphate and potash prices have also both hardened.


Immediate delivery N (SP5) March delivery N pay April Imported urea Imported N deliver March Blended 20.10.10 Blended 25.5.5 Liquid N, 37kg/100l or 29.6% N/t
£97-103 – but hurry £105 Granular unavailable; prilled 97 £94 higher quality £100-105 £93-96 £93-98/100,000 litres or £72-76/t

NPK February, pay April
Complex 25.5.5 103-106
20.10.10/29.5.5 February 110-113
17.17.17 February 130-133

N/S (High S) Complex 15.15.20 TSP (47% P2O5) Muriate of Potash (60% K2O)
93-96 125-130 130 132



  Imported urea




Complex compounds

Northern Ireland 130 117 No market No market 140



Urea, imported


Republic of Ireland* 115-120 No market 150-160 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