Calum Findlay, Gleadell’s fertiliser manager, comments on fertiliser markets:As crops continue to advance after a very slow start, things are now starting to look more positive as the weather improves.All crops are four to six weeks behind in growth stages and fertiliser demand mirrors this delay with growers only purchasing when required, taking a ‘little and often’ approach to application to encourage backward plants to grow.This buying trend does make executing movement very difficult for suppliers as orders are required immediately and are very often not full loads. UK prices are very inconsistent due to this sporadic demand, which looks as though it will continue.Urea
Although it is typically late in the season for urea demand, in the UK buying is still evident as global levels continue to correct downwards. Prices for granular urea have taken a downward dive after a sale this week into India at $20 below last trades.It is important to remember, however, that although this shows a negative trend to the world market, in the UK we are weeks behind this trend and there are few stock positions that will help to support prices in the short term. Attention will soon turn to the next campaign; any further dips in pricing will start to attract buyers.Ammonium Nitrate
AN prices in the UK have slowed and are stable, not really showing any signs of firming further. It seems that the price seen today on both imported and UK will remain static throughout the April/May period, with imported AN still trading in the region of £295-£303/t and UK still achieving £306-£310/t delivered to farm.Manufacturers appear to be in no hurry to discuss a new season correction, preferring instead to concentrate more on demand that will surface in the coming weeks, particularly in the west onto grassland.Phosphates
UK demand is currently strong for DAP/TSP as maize and cover crops are being drilled. Prices remain slightly weaker due to competitive pricing and there is very little activity worldwide. Many large global buying countries are awaiting firm indications of forward pricing and the end of a delayed winter season. Both China and US markets are expected to kick off the next buying season soon.Sulphur
Strong UK demand for NS grades is still evident and provides great value for money compared to straight nitrogen products.