By Roger Chesher
THE supply balance equation of domestic ammonium nitrate production has now altered to the extent that all three majors are confident of their current price of 116/t, rising to 120 by the end of the season.
Stocks are sufficiently low that the “big three” are content to simply supply the spot market which has now developed.
Hydros production problems continue and are reputedly more serious than last time, such that the plant may not even re-start before the final closure of nitric acid production at Immingham.
Extran is therefore being sourced from overseas and, while it is of equal physical quality, it is 1% lower in nitrogen than the UK product.
Kemira starts its six-week maintenance shutdown at the weekend, so any shortfall of home produced material will not be filled there.
Usually any threat of price rises stimulates a run of purchases, but farmers willingness and/or ability to pay present prices seems to be a strong factor.
This, combined with the recent wet weather, has held back the current second-cut silage market and sales only occur when application is imminent.
Merchants are responding in two ways in the south-west, where this market commences.
First, they are applying pressure to source NKs below the majors firm price of 116. Second, they are buying Russian imported AN, which they should be able to place on-farm around 95/t.
It seems many grassland farmers are prepared to forego potash this year and rely only on slurry and imported nitrogen.
Agronomists will consider this shortsighted, but times are hard.
Immediate delivery N (SP5)
June delivery N pay cash
Imported urea (if available)
Imported AN (if available)
Liquid N, 37kg/100l or 29.6% N/t
Granular unavailable; prilled 105
£103-107/100,000 litres or £81-87/t
April, pay cash
IRELAND CAN 0.23.24 0.16.36 Complex compounds
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. *Prices in the Republic are IR£
*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.
*Prices in the Republic are IR£
Note All illustrated prices are based on 20-tonne loads for immediate payment. Prices for smaller loads and those with credit terms will vary considerably.
Source: Bridgewater Partnership