POTASH users may find this nutrient subject to price increases in the near future, especially in the form of straight Muriate of Potash.
Fortunately these will be nowhere nearly as great as the recent rises in nitrogen pricing, though they occur for essentially the same reason: supply and demand.
Producers have already announced price rises, but there is a significant time lag before they get onto farm.
Blenders will use existing stocks before they purchase higher priced potash, which in turn displaces merchants’ stocks before being sold to farm.
Potash is a mined material, so energy costs are a factor only in production and transportation, not as a feedstock.
But according to Richard Pinner, newly appointed sales manager for Potash Ltd, large increases in soya production in South America, notably Brazil, have tipped the balance of supply and demand.
This is exacerbated by increased pig production in China, and by potash demand in Eastern Europe.
Despite a slight drop in EU potassium consumption, global demand for this nutrient exceeds supply, putting upward pressure on pricing.
This is because production capacity throughout the world is limited by the inability to extract the material fast enough without further heavy capital investment.
Recent significant changes in the relative cost of individual nutrients should encourage farmers to carefully review fertiliser agronomy.
Von Liebig’s laws concerning the balance of nutrients are just as relevant now as they were when first proposed in the 19th Century.
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.