By Mike Stickland
THE weather, particularly in the west, has limited fertiliser demand; while in the east, weak crop prices are having the same effect. The trade is certainly less busy than one would expect for the beginning of March.
Some merchants are forecasting a15%-plus fall in the market, while there are a few who think that there are a lot of sales still to come. The one bright spot has been prilled urea, and in many areas sales volumes are well up, as farmers take advantage of the lowest possible price per unit of N.
There is still a persistent demand for PK fertilisers, and blenders are finding some difficulties in maintaining supply of triple superphosphate mixes when the main market is for mono-ammonium phosphate and di-ammonium phosphate blends.
Prices have changed very little over the month, although manufacturers and importers are continually trying to push them up. There is insufficient demand in the market to make prices move.
Cargoes of imported nitrogen are becoming much more difficult and a little dearer to source, but this perception has not had any impact on the farm. A week of fine dry weather will certainly make a big difference.
Fertiliser prices, February 1999 (£/t)
Region Domestic AN Imported AN Urea Prills blend 10.10.10 compound 20.10.10 South East 95-97 78-82 NM 107-109 114-116
South West 94-96 78-83 95-98 106-110 110-115
East Anglia 95-97 76-82 89-94 102-109 112-115
Midlands 93-98 76-82 88-94 100-108 110-116
Wales 95-98 80-87 NM NM NM
North East 93-97 77-83 89-93 102-108 113-116
North West 95-98 78-84 NM 108-111 114-116
Scotland 95-97 76-84 NM 107-111 114-116