ALTHOUGH WE are only two months into the 2005/2006 fertiliser season, nitrogen sales are currently running into month five (November) production and at November prices.
Most of the activity centres on traditional arable early buyers and their merchant or group secretary’s desire to see them comfortably accommodated.
The background market, in this harvest period, is relatively quiet.
And, with harvest yet to be completed and plantings still not finalised, the potential fertiliser market size and market share sold are hard to quantify.
Supply and demand are still in balance and manufacturers are providing strong hints that the price is now less likely to exceed £160/t following Christmas.
That is despite ominously high forward gas prices.
Kemira, in particular, will not actually manufacture a great deal of ammonia at the time of peak costs as their plant is scheduled for a statuary shutdown.
This will be extended to install various efficiency-enhancing measures.
Farmers, therefore, have at least some reassurance that nitrogen prices are unlikely to rise much further.
Likewise, irrespective of no indication of market size, manufacturers are confident that there will be enough fertiliser to go round, despite more lucrative markets elsewhere.
As previously reported, £160/t is now sufficient to lure Russian imports into Britain, duty paid, and these will typically trade some £10/t below domestic 34.5%AN.
The Irish farmer however, has yet to enter the market and merchants too have failed to commit. For some, fertiliser prices will be a costly surprise in the spring.
CURRENT PRICES (£/t)
Domestic N (34.5%N) SP5
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 prices are based on 24t loads for immediate payment. Prices for smaller loads and those with credit terms will vary considerably.