By Roger Chesher
THE fall of the Pound has introduced another variable into the mix for new season fertiliser pricing.
In the absence of the Royal Show and Cereals talking shops, the major manufacturers have taken to the road to discuss the prospects for new-season sales, not only with merchants but also with farmers groups.
This development has upset some of the trade, who see the end-user as solely their preserve and are concerned at the prospect, real or imaginary, of manufacturers selling direct.
But in this insecure and ever-changing marketplace, manufacturers must surely look to every opportunity; internet, direct, groups, merchant, to safeguard market share.
As yet, new prices are not published, as suppliers seek to maximise end of season sales and also wait until the final moment for conflicting factors to evolve.
Urea prices are very low, around US$95 FOB (free on board) but this has yet to translate into an on farm price.
Granular Urea will, however, obviously be keenly priced.
On the other hand, thanks to Mr. Blairs fixation with the Euro, the Pound is now weak, thus increasing not only P and K raw material costs, but putting upward pressure on imported AN.
Whereas 12 months ago, AN was 78 CIF (carriage, insurance, freight), the exporter received US$118 with the pound at US$1.52.
At US$1.37 he would today only receive 106, a shortfall of US$12, so the projected on-farm new-season price of imported AN at 95 is now looking tight.
On the agronomic front, evidence is beginning to emerge from tissue and grain analysis that ignoring sulphur over the last couple of years is beginning to have a significant detrimental affect on arable crops.
This nutrient could be set for quite a comeback next season, which makes sense, as it is currently extremely cheap and markedly improves the efficiency of the more expensive nitrogen.
New-season nitrogen (SP5) 34.5%
Anticipated new-season (July) domestic nitrogen
Imported urea (if available)
Blended 20.10.10 and 25.0.16
|Liquid nitrogen, 37kg/100l or 29.6% N/t|
June, pay cash
July, imported N
After-cut NK cash
TSP (47% P2O5) bagged
Muriate of Potash (60% K2O) bagged
IRELAND CAN 24.6.12 0.16.36 Complex compounds
Forecast spring prices
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 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