By Roger Chesher
The Fertiliser Manufacturers Association held their annual dinner last night.
The occasion formerly filled the Savoy ballroom and gave rise to the observation that, if you are sailing on the Titanic, you might as well go first class.
Now it seems they have taken to the lifeboat, as a more realistic gathering met in the Midlands.
The President, Bill Tooley, director of J& H Bunn, a major British blender, strongly defended fertiliser price increases, stating they were vital to allow the industry to support agriculture.
Anti-dumping measures are not to blame, says Mr. Tooley, who suggests energy costs and reduced supply are the culprits.
“In the past year ammonium nitrate has come into the UK from 14 overseas countries.
“Anti-dumping controls have only been applied to three of them,” says Mr. Tooley, whose own business relies to an extent on imported materials.
“If this is the industry fixing the market, then we are failing miserably,” he said.
Mr. Tooley also stressed that UK percentage price increases are the lowest in Europe, excluding Ireland.
The NFU and NFU of Scotland have joined forces in a fight against fertiliser prices by responding to the OFT in their bid to secure a formal investigation.
Both organisations cannot be right and in the midst of all this rhetoric the price continues to creep upward towards 134/t for March, when it will still be cheaper than it was in the mid 1980s.
The tragedy is that the fortunes of the fertiliser industry are just starting to recover at a time when many farm businesses are at their lowest ebb.
New-season nitrogen (SP5) 34.5%
Anticipated spring price nitrogen
Imported urea (if available)
Imported AN (new season)
Blended 20.10.10 and 25.0.16
|Liquid nitrogen, 37kg/100l or 29.6% N/t|
No market yet
No market yet
November, pay cash
January, pay cash
April, pay cash (forecast)
After-cut NK cash
TSP (47% P2O5)
Muriate of Potash (60% K2O)
IRELAND CAN 24.6.12 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 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