Fertiliser sales languish as gas price soars

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)


Great Britain

























Straight


Domestic N (34.5%N) SP5


Mar £170


Imported AN (Russian/Lith)


£155-160


Imported urea



£178 granular
£160 prills


Liquid UAN
37kg/100litres (29.6%N/t)


No market


TSP (47%P2O5)


£153


Muriate of Potash(60%K2O)


£145



















































Compound


 


Complex


Blended


25.5.5


£160


From £150


15.15.20


£174


 


20.10.10 / 27.5.5


£160-162


From £150


17.17.17


£178


 


Aftercuts NK


 


No market


27.6.6 (imported)


 


 


32.5.0 (imported)


No market

Autumn grades (PK)

 


£140
















Trace elements

Copper, zinc, selenium,
cobalt Iodine and sodium

£11.80/acre pack





Ireland







































Straight and compound


 


Northern Ireland


Republic of Ireland†


Urea

£215 No market
CAN £150+ €220+

24.6.12 aftercut*


No market


No market


25.5.5


£171


 


27.6.6 complex**


£181


€280 (CCF)
€240 import blend


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.


Source: Bridgewater