Massive global demand continues to force fertiliser prices even higher, reports our commentator Roger Chesher
Although deliveries continue to pour on to farms, these are mainly the fulfilment of existing orders.
Anyone placing a new order for nitrogen today will find that the price has tipped over the £300/t barrier for domestic ammonium nitrate.
Daunting as this may seem, it is not as horrific as triplesuperphosphate (47% P2O5), now priced above £500/t.
There is still massive global demand for P and K, which explains the tight supply situation and the high price.
Those suffering in the UK are mainly maize growers sourcing ammonium phosphates to start their crops.
Generally, arable farmers are now well supplied with N, P and K whereas livestock producers are turning away from compounds towards straight N.
This is hardly surprising with 25.5.5 now over £300/t.
The P and K situation is worrying in both a business and agronomic sense, with no clear way forward.
We know, on the other hand, that nitrogen will attract a significant early-season discount from June onwards, to attract large farm businesses and arable growers.
A cynic might say that pricing AN above £300/t at a time when little is being bought will serve to make the discount appear even bigger, but it must be acknowledged that, after a brief downturn, the global price of nitrogen is up yet again. Our UK price simply reflects this.
UK farmers must hope for world-wide investment in nitrogen plants soon, but quite what can be done in the PK market is yet to be understood.
Sulphur prices have stabilised.
April 2008 (£/t delivered)
UK SP5 34.5% N
£313 (little difference
*All illustrated prices are based on 24t loads for cash payment month following. Prices for smaller loads and 50kg bags will vary considerably