Fertiliser prices could be set to rise

Early buyers of ammonium nitrate should brace for a shock, writes Farmers Weekly commentator Roger Chesher.

Ammonium nitrate new season prices for France and the Benelux countries, published yesterday (17 May), were significantly higher than expected. This will have a knock-on effect when prices for the UK are published in the next week or so.

French 33.5%N ammonium nitrate stands at €315/t bulk wholesale, and Benelux calcium ammonium nitrate, 27%N, is €247/t (includes cost, insurance and freight). Add a bag and delivery, equate to 34.5%, convert to sterling and include merchant’s margin and the UK price on-farm equates to £322/t.

This is considerably higher than the £250/t originally envisaged.

These prices are a result of massive changes in the global urea price, which has soared by $100/t in less than three weeks. Now $430/t (free on board, fob), equivalent to £338/t on UK farms, it was just $230/t fob (£215/t on-farm) at the start of last season.

A host of changes to the global supply/ demand equation are behind this and will be analysed in more detail next week.

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