The stop-go nature of the recent market in fertilisers has lapsed into stop-stop, with neither farmers nor merchants buying.
Despite the optimism brought about by heavy plantings in the arable east, the volume of business to be gained on second wheats on lighter land, for example, is harder to quantify.
Statistics from seed merchants are less helpful than in the past as the volume of farm-saved seed is now significant but as yet unknown.
So the recent flurry of imports has currently ceased with material sitting on the dockside.
Thus, at last, stocks are beginning to build for both UK manufacturer and importer, but neither have any fears that it will not sell in the spring, or that prices will be eroded.
There is fierce competition for what little fertiliser business is currently to be had.
With energy costs holding manufacturers prices up, the impact of competition is to seriously erode merchant margins, but a low margin on low volumes is a recipe for catastrophe.
Despite the high prices for compound fertilisers in mainland Europe, importers are confident they will still be able to supply material at competitive prices.
And, on that front, the European Commission has decided to extend the scope of the anti-dumping duty on ammonium nitrate to include “high N” or so called “dirty N” compound fertilisers.
These are those where the low amounts of P and K contained therein had little or no agronomic effect but changed the classification of the product to one not covered by the original duties.
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.