Wynnstay revealed a windfall from the “exceptional” fertiliser markets conditions which have sent some prices to record highs, even as the rally in nutrient values showed signs of slowing.

The UK-based feed-to-farm retail group said that the outbreak of war in Ukraine had “exacerbated” commodity price volatility which had spurred “material” increases in values so far in 2022.

The conflict had also “in particular… raised concerns over the supply” of wheat and fertilizers, disrupting exports of both commodities from Russia and Ukraine.

Wynnstay’s Glasson fertilizer operation, the UK’s second largest fertilizer blender, had “continued to experience one-off gains from the exceptional current trading environment that has been sustained into the current financial year”.

In the last financial year, which ended in October, Glasson “experienced a significant one-off benefit from the three-fold increase in selling prices towards the end of” the period, spurred by increased gas prices, Wynnstay reported last month.

Price rises

The comments came even as the UK’s AHDB ag bureau reported continued increases in domestic fertilizer prices last month, to highs of £649 per tonne in ammonium nitrate, £542 per tonne in potash and £799 per tonne in diammonium phosphate.

However, the pace of price growth showed a market slowdown from the increases reported for January, and over most of 2021.

Granular urea prices, at £733 per tonne, tumbled by nearly £34 per tonne, their biggest month-on-month decline on data going back four years.

Anecdotal reports have suggested that the extent of gains in fertilizer prices – which are for diammonium phosphate up 85% year on year, and more than double year-ago values for nitrogen and potash – is prompting some rationing by growers.

Wynnstay said that “farmgate prices have remained strong, enabling customers to absorb elements” of growth in costs of inputs, also evident in the likes of energy bills.

However, higher input prices “are expected to curtail some demand”.

Market reaction

Wynnstay added that it “remains well-placed to achieve its goals for the current financial year”.

Its shares closed in London up 2.5% at 605p, a five-year closing high.