Prilled urea is currently available to blenders at competitive prices, giving them some assurance that they will be able to compete comfortably with the domestic compound market.
For top dressing, granular urea is by far the preferred option, and the usual differentiation of £10/t or more is back in place.
Farmers are relieved at the market value of wheat, so there is every indication that a reasonable spring fertiliser market will develop.
The volume of autumn plantings also heartens merchants and manufacturers, who met this week at their annual Jamboree, the AIC Fertiliser Sector dinner.
Prices continue to be firm, but inevitably the massive impact of energy costs was uppermost in many minds at the meeting.
As Stuart Beer, chairman of the Sector, reported in his address, this has the effect of pushing prices to a record high.
But, he says, manufacturers are unable to recover the phenomenal cost increase from a customer base under enormous economic pressure.
With margins under pressure and the need to survive and invest, the industry has again issued a call for Government to ensure the UK is competing on a level playing field in Europe.
The anti-dumping instrument raises considerable questions for the future.
Russia, for example, sells gas to the export market at market price but sells it internally below cost, despite applying for accession to the WTO and being granted market economy status.
This allows inefficient manufacturers to export fertilisers at way below market economy prices, says Mr. Beer.
CURRENT PRICES (£/t)
Domestic N (34.5%N) SP5
Imported AN (Russian, Lithuanian)
Muriate of Potash(60%K2O)
20.10.10 / 27.5.5
|Autumn grades (PK)|
|Copper, zinc, selenium,|
cobalt Iodine and sodium
Straight and compound
Republic of Ireland†
|No market||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.
*Known as 24.2½.10 blend in the Republic of Ireland
**Known as 27.2½.5 in ROI
Note All illustrated prices are based upon 24 tonne loads for immediate payment. Prices for smaller loads and those with credit terms will vary considerably.