Fertiliser holds keen in quiet market

Fertiliser prices remain keen compared with last season, although the drop in value of sterling against the US dollar has firmed prices for some imported product.

UK manufactured ammonium nitrate (AN) is going on to farm in very quiet harvest trade in the early £170s/t but is not widely available. October quotes are in the mid £170s/t.

Imported East European AN is struggling to compete, with Lithan at just a few pounds a tonne below the cost of UK manufactured product and Pulan in the mid-to-high £160s/t.

See also: Grain price rises as yield and quality concerns mount

It is estimated that about a third of nitrogen requirements for the 2017 crop have been ordered by growers.

Availability this autumn is not likely to be a problem for any of the main commodities, say traders, although anything which further dents the fortunes of sterling is likely to add to relative costs of imported material.

Although harvest was traditionally a quiet time for the fertiliser trade, poor oilseed rape and barley yields had made growers more hesitant than ever to commit to ordering, said merchants.

Granular urea is offered at £190-£200/t for November/December delivery. This is a £10-£15/t increase on prices offered just prior to the EU referendum, reflecting the decline in the value of sterling.

Potash prices have moved little, if at all, with MOP at £230-£235/t for August/September delivery. Phosphate prices have softened slightly to put DAP at £315-£320/t compared with £315-£330/t two months ago.

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