OCTOBER NITROGEN prices now stand at £152 or more with restricted availability.
Concerns are also being expressed that this price might increase before November, which bodes ill for the spring price.
It will, as a major importer put it, test the elasticity of the fertiliser market to its limit.
With little to trade on the nitrogen market, attention would normally turn to autumn (PK) sales at this time but interest in these is unusually quiet.
This is partly because cereal growers are less bound to sowing P and K only in the autumn, applying it with, or without, N in the spring.
More PK “holidays” are also being taken, with farmers relying on the soil bank to supply these nutrients from reserves.
This of course makes the business of soil analysis more important so the introduction of new in depth literature from the independent Potash Development Association on this topic is timely (www.pda.org.uk).
Recent surveys show a steady decline in PK reserves which, in the case of K in particular, could significantly inhibit yield.
But, no matter what time farmers plan to apply PK it makes sense to check prices.
Reduced demand may hold back PK prices a little, but at £133/t-plus these are not cheap.
Raw materials prices are firming and it hard to obtain commitment to an on farm price just yet.
As with nitrogen, the early buyer of PKs should profit.
CURRENT PRICES (£/t)
Domestic N (34.5%N) SP5
£135 where available
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.