Farmers waiting to hear new season fertiliser prices were given welcome news this week as the UK’s only fertiliser manufacturer GrowHow announced Nitrogen prices at lower levels than last year.
The July price for Nitram of between ￡175 and ￡178 per tonne on farm - based on 24 tonne loads and dependent on merchants' margin - with ￡2 per tonne increase per month from July to September sees prices fall back closer to 2007 levels.
In 2008 prices hit ￡400 a tonne, before falling back dramatically and leaving many farmers rueing their decision to buy early.
Confirming the prices, GrowHow marketing manager Ken Bowler said: “Farmers might be surprised by this because they expected it to be closer to ￡200 a tonne so it will definitely ease some of the cost pressure.
“We are seeing crop prices start to go up again and with inputs coming down it should be good news for arable farmers.”
Some farmers could be wary of buying early after the market fell dramatically late on last season, but with low early season prices many will be keen to take advantage now.
NFU Scotland president Jim McLaren said: “The way last season’s market operated, with huge hikes in price and strict payment terms, followed by dramatic price cuts, badly damaged the relationship between fertiliser manufacturers and farmers.
“It will take some time for that to be fully repaired although this year’s pricing schedule may well be pitched at a level to encourage traditional early buyers of Nitrogen to enter the market at this time."
NFU inputs advisor Hannah Moule said she welcomed the new prices, although the lower pricing was not extraordinary but instead ‘where it needs to be’ in order to comply with urea and imported nitrogen prices.
She said the move was a good sign that GrowHow was moving to instill farmers with confidence early in the season when buying in their inputs.