OCTOBER’S NITROGEN price remains unchanged, but supplies are limited and manufacturers already find themselves under pressure to issue a November price.
Although there is no stampede to buy nitrogen, merchants and salesmen are anxious to ensure that regular early buyers are covered.
But such is the volatility of raw material prices – particularly gas – that manufacturers are not keen to commit.
The autumn is, of course, the period when gas spot prices start to move from a summer low towards the winter peak.
Importers are also playing a waiting game, until prospects for the spring price become clearer. Cargoes are expected before Christmas and availability is improving.
Not surprisingly, farmers are currently preoccupied with harvest, the size and quality of which together with subsequent planting volumes will be the next indicators for this season’s nitrogen market.
The question is whether the prospect of a spring nitrogen price in excess of £160/t will significantly alter sowing patterns.
Agronomic calculations suggest it should not, but there are concerns that £160/t is perilously close to what the market will stand.
Real prospects for the 2005/2006 season will only start to emerge once autumn sowing patterns are known, but it will be the later-buying grass farmer who will be hardest hit.
CURRENT PRICES (£/t)
Domestic N (34.5%N) SP5
£135 where available
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.