Energy prices continue to dominate the fertiliser industry, fuelling rumours and conspiracy theories.
Certainly, the high price of gas will help the government to make its case for a new round of nuclear energy generation.
But whatever the truth of the situation, it is the farmer and the manufacturer who suffers while ammonia plants at Terra and Kemira remain shut down.
Both companies continue to manufacture ammonium nitrate from purchased ammonia.
After vacillating this month, manufacturers pegged AN at a higher level of £178/t on-farm for January and though some is still around at £163/t, it will not be so for long.
Compound prices are also creeping upward and rises have also hit the trace element market.
Increases in copper, cobalt and packaging costs have resulted in a price hike of 40p per acre pack, although a discount price structure applies until February.
This increase, say manufacturers, is modest compared to mainstream fertiliser prices, and these products continue to gain in appeal where a holistic approach leads to increased fertiliser efficiency and animal health.
Overall, movement of fertiliser remains brisk, but this is to catch up with existing orders.
The new order book looks lean and January will be a difficult month with few orders and high prices.
CURRENT PRICES (£/t)
Domestic N (34.5%N) SP5
Imported AN (Russian)
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.