21 June 2002

Prices firm despite fertiliser shake-up

RECENT upheavals in the UK fertiliser distribution network will leave some farmers having to switch merchants to buy their favourite brand.

But competition for farm business is likely to remain just as keen, so prices are unlikely to change, says the trade.

Banks Cargill Agriculture has severed its supply arrangement with Terra Nitrogen, while in what was said to be an unrelated move Hydro has ceased trading with Dalgety.

Banks Cargill accounted for about 10% of Terras retail tonnage. However, while Terras Andy Yates was surprised by the speed of the action, he believed the move would create only a temporary sales dip, with 46 other distributors on the companys books.

"Dalgetys changed status with Hydro presents an opportunity. And much of the Banks Cargill tonnage was joint business which Terra may now place with other distributors," he said.

Stuart Allison, of Banks Cargill, said the company was now Hydros largest UK distributor and would account for about 15% of the total UK fertiliser market. The move would allow the merchant to capitalise on its relationship with Hydro Agri, giving it sole UK supplier status for selected Hydro new products.

Hydro Agri UK managing director Doug Shaw said the move away from Dalgety was in line with the companys drive to reduce the number of key accounts.

"Dalgety has been an important customer, but I feel we have made the right decision."

Dalgetys Gary White said the company would continue to develop its added-value policy with other suppliers. &#42