Farm Ireland

Saturday 18 November 2017

Rising urea prices on the continent a real concern

Caitrona Murphy

Improved grass growth and a reluctance among farmers to pay over the odds is holding urea prices close to the €300/t mark, but higher prices internationally do not bode well for fertiliser costs as the year moves on.

The best value is to be found in the north midlands and northeast of the country where there are more suppliers vying for customers and, as usual, buyer groups and big-volume buyers are securing the best deals.

The latest IFA fertiliser price survey shows the best prices for big bags of CAN delivered are being quoted in north Leinster, where prices range from €297-335/t. Quotes are €3/t more in south Leinster, where the range is €300-335/t.

CAN prices in Munster and Ulster are similar at €305-340/t, while farmers in Connacht are being quoted €5 more at €310-340/t.

There is a €20/t difference in the lowest prices for big bags of 18-6-12 delivered, depending on location. North Leinster farmers are being quoted €390-430/t, while further north in Ulster, the quotes are €402-440/t. Munster quotes are €405-440/t and south Leinster quotes are €408-445/t. Farmers in the west are being quoted €412-440/t.

Big bags of 27-2.5-5 delivered on farm range from €385-430/t in north Leinster to €412-440/t in the west. Quotes in south Leinster and Ulster are around €400-445/t, while Munster prices are €5 higher at €440-438/t.

The survey found a €30/t variation in the best quotes for 24-2.5-5, with farmers in the west again at a disadvantage to their north Leinster counterparts. North Leinster prices ranged from €390-438/t, while Connacht prices ranged from €420-450/t. Farmers in the south were quoted €410-450/t, while those in south Leinster and Ulster were quoted €4-5/t more at €414-450/t.

Meanwhile, urea prices have increased significantly on the international markets in recent weeks, driven by Latin American demand, tenders from India and Pakistan and uncertainty about Chinese product. Urea in the Black Sea region rose from $325/t (€223/t) in early April to $435/t (€299/t) last week.

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At the same time, German wholesale CAN prices have fallen from €290-295/t to €247 to €251/t bulk. The nitrogen season is all but closed in Europe and new season prices are beginning to issue. Traditionally nitrogen fertiliser prices bottom out at this time of the year, tempting buyers to purchase forward, but the current prices are deterring both farmer and trade buyers from making forward purchases.

Indo Farming