FERTILISER MERCHANTS believe that up to 40% of 2004/5 compound market is yet to come, although some say that the season is over.
This wide variation probably reflects more the regional nature of the trade than its forecasting ability.
Nitrogen market leaders Terra Nitrogen is betting that 45% of the grass (compound) market and 15% of the arable (nitrogen) market is yet to come.
But as Stewart Beer, Terra‘s elder statesman of the fert industry points out, forecasting is going to become increasingly difficult in the future.
Historically, the CAP has rewarded production, which relied on inputs such as fertiliser, but in the future, sales of such inputs will fluctuate widely in line with cereal prices.
At the farm gate, fertiliser business is still slow, but deliveries of existing orders continue apace.
The mild winter is resulting in higher than average levels of residual soil nitrogen in some regions, which delays the first spring top dressing.
At the same time the FARMERS WEEKLY/Kemira To-Sum is racing ahead, indicating that any soil nitrogen will soon be rapidly utilised.
This means the remaining market should develop in mid to late February.
Demand for imports is still very low and though product is available overseas, it is in limited tonnages.
If the market develops and merchants wish to sell imported material they need to commit in early February.
CURRENT PRICES (£/t)
Imported AN Lithuanian
£147 where available
Muriate of Potash(60%K2O)
20.10.10 / 27.5.5
|Copper, zinc, selenium,|
cobalt Iodine and sodium
|£200 (existing stocks only)||€270-280|
(dependant on source and quality)
|CAN||£150||€220 large variations|
†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 as24.2½.10 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.