Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 23 May 2017

Price of fertiliser tumbles

Drop of €120/t on last year as traders hunt business

Drop in price of fertiliser Photo: Getty Images
Drop in price of fertiliser Photo: Getty Images
Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Fertiliser prices are down as much as €120/t compared to the same time last year, the latest price survey has revealed.

Credit terms are also favourable for farmers, with many merchants offering to take payment at harvest time for close to cash prices.

Opening prices for CAN have fallen by €115-120/t in the past 12 months, while urea is back by €120/t on 2009 levels.

However, demand for CAN is high across Europe and prices could increase in the short term. One fertiliser manufacturer wrote to merchants on Friday, indicating a €50/t rise in CAN price was imminent.

Spot wholesale prices for bulk CAN late last week were around €195/t but there is currently buyer resistance from farmers across the EU as grain prices remain on the floor.

The best deals for bagged CAN delivered are in the Munster region, at €185/t cash on delivery, while granular urea prices are keenest in the northern half of the country.

Without doubt, the best value for money is for urea, at an average of 63c/kg of nitrogen, compared to CAN at 75c/kg.

Prices for both urea and NPK compounds are expected to remain stable.

There is a significant variation in prices across the country, according to the latest IFA fertiliser price survey. Quotes for big bags of delivered granulated urea range from €282-320/t in Munster to €295-340/t in Connacht, €285-330/t in south Leinster and €285-325/t in north Leinster.

Big bags of CAN, delivered on farm, range from €185-235/t in Munster to €200-220/t in south Leinster and €190-225/t in north Leinster. The best prices are for cash deals.

Bulk CAN loads, delivered, are quoted at €180-190/t, depending on whether payment is in March or at harvest.

Quotes for big bags of 18-6-12 range from €290-330/t in Munster to €295-325/t in north Leinster.

Granulated 27-2.5-5, delivered in big bags, is available for €277-298/t in Munster. Again, the lower price is for cash deals. Top lift bags of prilled urea are being quoted at €255/t in the same region.

Granulated 24-2.5-10, delivered in big bags, is being quoted at €290-320/t, while prilled product is quoted at €268/t delivered.

Initial quotes for 10-10-20 currently stand at €345/t for big bags delivered in Munster. IFA inputs' project leader, Chris Hayes, urged farmers to hunt around for the best deals.

"Farmers who shop around or buy as part of a large group are getting the best deals," he explained. "Urea is currently better value than CAN, when nitrogen content is taken into account."

Merchants are also offering significant credit deals, based on payment in March or at harvest, although the best prices are available for cash deals.

It is understood that some merchants are using improved credit arrangements in an attempt to woo back customers lost because of poor grain prices paid last autumn and severe losses which growers suffered through the difficult 2009 harvest.

Irish Independent