Uncertain spring fertiliser supply and price outlook

High gas prices continue to make production uneconomic for many fertiliser plants, reducing output worldwide at a time of strong global demand and making for a very uncertain spring supply outlook.

With prices continuing to firm, importers are reluctant to take the risk of booking fresh cargoes, especially as haulage and shipping logistics remain difficult and costs stay high.

Imported AN is priced at up to £30/t higher than CF Fertilisers’ past two offers, said merchants.

New prices for UK-manufactured ammonium nitrate were expected by the trade to come out late this week at a higher level than the most recent offering, which put product onto farm for December/January delivery at £610-£620/t.

See also: Advice on trimming fertiliser rates when prices are high

With some merchants still waiting for supplies of product that was booked for July/August delivery, there has been keen interest in the expected reopening of CF Fertilisers’ Ince site, which is expected to recommence making sulphur grades.

The company has not responded to several inquiries by Farmers Weekly about this during the past two weeks. However, the trade is not expecting production to restart before mid-December.

Fertiliser supplied to UK farmers is down by about 4% in the season to the end of October, trade body AIC told Farmers Weekly.

“Sales have been lagging most of the year due to price, rather than availability overall,” said a spokesperson.

“As a result, the annual market is about 150,000t short compared with this time last year. However, overall this is only about 4% of the total cumulative market of about 3m tonnes-plus.”

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