Shop around for nitrogen before spring price rise

Global urea and nitrogen prices generally fell back a little over the Christmas period, along with those of phosphate, but not potash, writes fertiliser commentator Roger Chesher.

In the UK, GrowHow held its AN prices. Egyptian urea which had peaked at $500/t fob and stood at $370/t around Christmas has now risen again to $440/t. Having briefly been available just below £300/t on farm it is now around £350/t but is reportedly in short supply with new cargoes expected in March. Imported AN is still available at £310/t.

The latest Fertiliser Quarterly from Rabobank suggests fertiliser prices may rise towards the end of the first quarter of this year when demand picks up on higher crop plantings but prices could ease further before then.

Overall, the UK buyer can expect a steady, modest increase in prices up to April/May, but perhaps with more occasional volatility than usual, so if you see a bargain, grab it.

P and K prices have steadied but compound prices have dipped a little. Sulphur continues to offer value for money when incorporated into fertiliser and baffles agronomists as to why it is still not used to its potential.

Frontier Agriculture saw yield increases in winter oilseed rape up to applications of 260kg/ha SO3 in 2011 trials. Consequently the firm has raised its recommended rate to 110-130kg/ha SO3 in high risk areas. Its programme has also shown increased demand for boron in rape, up to 1.5kg/ha on pH-corrected soils.

January 2012 (£/T delivered)*

 UK 34.5% N 15.15.15   Imported urea 46% N  Imported 34.5% N  PK 0.24.24 25.5.5  20.10.10  Phosphate (TSP) 46%P2O2  Potash (Muriate) 60% K2O


 £340-£360 blended


 £310 (Lithan)


£338 complex

£300 blend

£355 blend 



* All illustrated prices are based on 24t loads for cash payment month following. Prices for smaller loads and 50kg bags will vary considerably.

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