News of higher fertiliser prices for January has stimulated immediate action in the marketplace with renewed interest in nitrogen at December prices.
There are reports that some domestic ammonium nitrate may still be available at the November price below £160/t, although limited.
Imports are able to compete effectively at these prices and these too are beginning to move onto farm.
The 2005 report on fertiliser usage in Britain is now available from the Agricultural Industries Confederation.
It highlights the continual decline in fertiliser nutrient usage, a change of –15% overall in the last 10 years.
The decline is slowing, however, with the major downturn being in the use of phosphate.
Cropping area has been up in the last 5 years by some 1.6% and the downturn in nutrient use is accounted for by a reduction in application rates on all crops, apart from winter cereals where the use of nitrogen per hectare remains remarkably stable.
It will be interesting to see the impact of current high fertiliser prices when these statistics are published again.
Higher prices are perhaps responsible for a renewed focus on fertiliser agronomy.
Advisers will be pleased to see that the massive reduction in liming in the late 1990s has been halted and reversed, on both tillage and grassland.
Potassium use and sulphur imports are also rising, both nutrients having a marked positive impact on the efficiency of nitrogen use.
The increase in potassium use overall is not, however, attributable to all acres and bucks the 10 year downward trend for the nutrient.
1999 saw a significant increase in the cropped arable area that received neither P nor K and over 30% of this area continues without the application of these nutrients.
CURRENT PRICES (£/t)
Domestic N (34.5%N) SP5
Imported AN (Russian)
Muriate of Potash(60%K2O)
20.10.10 / 27.5.5
|Autumn grades (PK)|
|Copper, zinc, selenium,|
cobalt Iodine and sodium
Straight and compound
Republic of Ireland†
|No market||No market|
†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 as 24.2½.10 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.