THE UK fert market is in a period of short supply, with producers working flat out to fulfil existing demand, but hampered by unexpected shutdowns.
Kemira at Ince, near Chester, are said to be suffering down time on their ammonia plant, which will not be running again until the end of the year.
It will be difficult to source ammonia to substitute in this run up to Christmas.
Following the holiday, imports will not be cheap and supplies could be subject to frozen conditions in the Baltic, leading to delays.
Fortunately for producers, demand before Christmas remains low, but under these circumstances, spring buyers might be advised to grab their fertiliser as soon as possible.
But the overall view is that demand will be met, not least because Terra have sourced alternative nitrogen supplies for their industrial customers, freeing up home production for the UK farmer.
The upward trend in pricing has now ceased and the January price of £147/t for AN may well hold into the spring.
It has always been a principle of the UK fertiliser industry to sell ammonia or base materials to competitors when unexpected breakdowns or shortages occur.
This helps to ensure that the home industry can meet market needs as fully as possible.
The alternative would be to rely more heavily on imports, which would be costly at present, as exporters seek sales more lucrative than the UK in other parts of the world.
There were times however, when the UK market appeared attractive, leading to dumping of product here, to the detriment of the home producer.
The purpose of the anti-dumping legislation imposed by the EU is to smooth out these variations, ensuring security of supply at pricing which more accurately reflects the varying costs of production.
CURRENT PRICES (£/t)
Nitrogen (Domestic) N (SP5) 34.5%
Domestic AN Spring
Imported AN Lithuan
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
27. 2.5 . 5
(dependant on source and quality)
€200 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.