Yet again the New Year springs hope of upturn
Published 05/01/2010 | 05:00
I began the first article of last year with the following few sentences: "A happy New Year to one and all. Good riddance to 2008.
It was a tough year. High fertiliser prices, high fuel prices, falling milk prices and, lastly but not least, the bloody weather. Enough said."
The same could be said about 2009. We didn't think the weather could have been worse, but, as we all know, it was much worse. The high fertiliser prices were out there for the first few months of 2009 but, thankfully, they came back rapidly, with the exception of phosphorus and potash.
What will fertiliser prices be like as we approach the spring of this year? Thankfully, the omens look good for the spring.
While granular urea was costing €440/t last spring, this month it will be bought for around €300/t. This is for a minimum 8t load with a few months credit. At €300/t, each kilogramme of nitrogen is costing 69c. Last year, the same urea cost 94c/kg, so urea is nearly 32pc cheaper than last January.
Can it be bought cheaper? Last year, prilled urea was nearly €20/t cheaper. I presume this year it will be about €10/t cheaper. Did any of you use prilled urea last year and if you did were you happy with it? If you were happy with it last year, it makes no sense to switch back to using a dearer product this year. Milk price hasn't improved that much.
Also, several of you became very active in buying urea from across the border and some of this made its way very far south. Contacts made last year should be explored again this spring.