With fresh domestic gas price hikes being announced almost weekly, few farmers will be surprised at continuing high fertiliser prices.
Domestic ammonium nitrate remains on offer around £170/t, keeping January and February sales figures low.
Either the size of the market is less than anticipated or buyers are determinedly holding off until the usage period – even 0% finance deals have failed top start the market.
Most farms have small fertiliser stocks to get them started and merchants have been selling a little product, which all adds up, though not to much!
The market is holding its collective breath in anticipation of a rush which may or may not come in March/April.
The efforts of blenders to hang on to market share opened a significant price gap compared with complex compounds, but this has since narrowed to £10/t.
However, blenders will shortly be faced with higher raw materials costs and compound prices are expected to rise again before the end of this season.
Importing is quiet. Granular urea is being delivered to farm at £175-8/t, cheaper than of late, with “super prills” available around £170.
Lithuanian AN is priced around £158/t and keeps a lid on domestic prices.
Despite high prices and slow sales, Kemira GrowHow ventured to restart its UK ammonia plant for tests after an extensive £2m re-fit.
But the recent cold spell coupled with a fire on a North Sea gas platform has pushed the price back up to 80p/therm, and since ammonia can be bought for the equivalent of 50p/therm, it is doubtful that production will continue.
Yara’s European plants are down until the end of March and Terra’s Severnside ammonia plant is still on hold awaiting a better gas price.
Unlike British Gas, high gas prices do not bolster the profits of fertiliser companies, and more job losses are expected at Kemira.
The company’s blending and bagging operations at Belfast and Sharpness are threatened but sales throughout Ireland will continue.
CURRENT PRICES (£/t)
Domestic N (34.5%N) SP5
Imported AN (Russian/Lith)
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†
†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.