Price pressure grows as fertiliser stocks wait for buyers

Fertiliser prices are under pressure, with stock sitting in stores and sellers seeking cashflow as waterlogged soils keep machinery standing.

The recent strengthening of the pound means imported product already in the UK is looking expensive for the trade, which is keen to offload it.

“Blenders must be worried, as they are carrying big stocks,” said one merchant in the East.

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Also, some importers had stocked up on urea or imported ammonium nitrate (AN) in advance of the 31 October Brexit deadline, the merchant said. “All product is sat there looking at them, gathering costs, which is not good.”

With the market so quiet, UK ammonium nitrate manufacturer CF Fertilisers UK has withdrawn terms and merchants are waiting for its next pricing move, expected in the next few days.

At Wynnstay Farmers, fertiliser manager Dave Mitchell said P and K demand was down, but good yields of both grass and combinable crops this year mean reserves would be reduced.

As a result, soils were likely to need P and K, he said. He expects much of the P and K that would normally be applied in autumn to be rolled into spring compound or blend applications instead.

“Last year, we had an early spring and there had not been much forward ordering. This led to a five- to six-week lead time, and that sort of delay can have an effect on yield,” he said.

Despite the slow demand for fertiliser, haulage is tight and certainly difficult to get at short notice, so suppliers are issuing their usual warnings about ordering in good time.

Fertiliser update (£/t delivered November 2019*)

UK 34.5% N (Oct) Not available
Imported AN 238-£243
Granular urea 46% N £265-£272 (Nov-Dec)
Potash MOP £275-£285
Phosphate DAP £340-£350
Phosphate TSP £295
All illustrated prices are based on full loads for cash payment on 28-day terms. * Unless otherwise indicated

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