Massive world demand has caused 34.5% domestic ammonium nitrate prices to jump to £175/t.
As supplies continue to tighten, prices are expected to reach £180/t by Christmas, and could reach as much as £200/t in the spring.
Imports are in short supply, with imported granular urea around £230/t and replacement costs approaching £245-250.
Under these circumstances, the planned closure and complete decommissioning of the GrowHow ammonia and fertiliser plant at Severnside has surprised many in the industry, despite the expected move.
But GrowHow is confident the lost production of 400,000 tonnes of Severnside AN can be made up by increased production at Billingham, the supply of additional nitric acid to Ince and synergies in the use of ammonium sulphate to increase sulphur compound production.
Whilst giving rise to valuable increases in production efficiency, the trade has reservations concerning the loss of such a significant loading and distribution point for the South West.
The increase in nitrogen prices seems almost negligible when compared to those of the other major nutrients, phosphate and potash.
Potassium has risen yet again, an immediate rise of £12/t, making muriate of potash very close to £200/t on farm. Phosphate is rocketing towards the £300/t mark with TSP now at £279/t.
With a cargo of triplesuperphosphate now approaching the £1M mark the impact on cash flow for blending companies is enormous.
Only sulphur has escaped enormous rises with an increase of 30% on ammonium sulphate as a raw material, mainly accounted for by its nitrogen content. Sulphur remains a cost effective and highly undervalued nutrient.
All of this is not to say that NPK is not now cost effective. At today’s cereal prices it remains so, and is recognised as such.
Although the market is not on the boil, business carries on and is expected to be brisk around Christmas before AN reaches £200 in the spring.
The world market will eventually change and prices will come down, but not this season.
The market for fertilisers in Ireland is virtually non existent at farm level.
Traditionally, most of the business takes place in the spring. Merchants preparing for the spring market are finding it difficult to secure imports at acceptable prices.
Prilled no interest
£280 tight availability
Muriate of Potash (60%K2O)
£200but priced out of market
20.10.10 / 27.5.5
Autumn grades (PK)
Copper, zinc, selenium,
No longer used
†Note in the
*Known as 24.2½.10 blend in the
**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.