THE SPRING usage period accounts for over 80% of fertiliser sales in both the Republic and Northern Ireland, in contrast to Great Britain.
The trade has been anxiously watching the rapidly rising price patterns across Europe, and nothing has yet encouraged the merchant to buy stocks or commit to cargoes.
As in Britain, Ireland is faced with an unknown quantity in terms of market volumes this spring.
Indeed, more so because grassland farmers provide a higher percentage volume of total market sales.
These farmers are still unable to commit because of CAP reform and its impact on decision making.
They are also being encouraged to review fertiliser policy by Government advice based on the environmental impacts of phosphate and nitrogen use.
So the merchant cannot gauge the market volume or market pricing, and the blender is unable to plan, not knowing the cost of imported raw materials.
But the culture of settling merchant prices retrospectively mitigates unknown import costs to a degree.
This practice, once conveniently blamed on IFI, has continued since the demise of that state owned producer.
Whilst it ensures a margin for the merchant, it may not be in the best interests of the farmer.
Benchmark prices for Ireland (below) have crept up by £5-10/t, while the hiatus in Britain continues as the trade prepares pricing for the rest of the season.
CURRENT PRICES (£/t)
Nitrogen (Domestic) N (SP5) 34.5%
Domestic AN Spring
Imported AN Lithuan
Feb £158.50 Mar £160
No market yet
Jan (add £3 for March)
|Trace elements||0.24.24||TSP (47%P2O5)||Muriate of|
|Copper, zinc, selenium,|
cobalt Iodine and sodium Per acre pack £11.10
Benchmark prices. Compounds out of season.
Urea, existing stocks only
CAN, large price variations
(dependant on source and quality)
€240 import blend
*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.
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.