By Roger Chesher
IT seems that last weeks attempt to kick-start the market has had only modest effect.
Variations in price or availability just seem to have no effect at the farm gate and, say some, with slurry tanks full to bursting, there is not much prospect for a buoyant second-cut market either.
Grassland farmers in particular are making do with small loads of nitrogen and using whatever other nutrients are already on-farm.
The farm price of imports has crept down from 120/t to 118/t, with reports in some small local areas of panic de-stocking at prices as low as 110-112/t.
But, with first-quarter net income more than doubling over last year, international chemical giants such as Kemira are in no mood to allow another nosedive in fertiliser prices.
If things dont improve soon, one fears that even further rationalisation will be necessary.
The Kemira Agro Nitrogen unit (KAN), which specialises in the nitrogen fertiliser business, saw its net sales come in 29% below last years first quarter figure.
The difficulties resulting from rainfall and foot-and-mouth impacted KANs markets, and fertiliser delivery volumes were down a good third on last year.
The price level was on average 25-30% higher than in the first quarter of last year.
Profitability was nevertheless burdened by the high price of natural gas, which is used in manufacturing ammonia, says the Kemira Agriculture group.
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|
May, 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