By Roger Chesher

MOST of the activity in the world of fertiliser this week has not been at the farm gate, but very much behind the scenes.

The joint owners of the Qatar Fertiliser Company (Qafco) – Qatar Petroleum and Norsk Hydro – have approved a project to construct a new US$535m (365m) ammonia and urea factory in Qatar.

Capable of manufacturing 2000t/day of ammonia and 3200t of urea, the plant will make Qafco the worlds largest single ammonia and urea facility producing in excess of 4.8m tonnes each year.

While it is too early to say what impact this will have on our home markets, it is a further indication of Hydros commitment to fertiliser as a core business and illustrates the global nature of fertiliser production.

Larger volumes of efficiently produced urea available in world markets should help to keep the price of nitrogen at a reasonable level, even though urea sales represent less than 10% of our home market.

On-farm, arable buyers are too busy with drilling to even think about fertiliser sales.

PK sales are still surprisingly slow and all is quiet on the import front.

However, some nitrogen is moving, mainly on to dairy farms where signs of buoyancy are creeping back.


New-season nitrogen (SP5) 34.5% October 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
September 112-114 No published price Granular 115-120 88 ex-dock
100 delivered fresh
113-115 107-113 120
NPK September, pay cash NS products
Complex 25.5.5 112-118 112-114
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
110-115 – market virtually over 112-114 125 122


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=UK78.31p; US$1=UK68.17p on 13 September


    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