February Market Update
The later regions have now finished harvest and for those who finished early hopefully you’ve had a decent break off the farm. It’s been a long and stressful harvest for many of you, thick crops are great but that also means frustratingly slow header speeds! Well done to all of you who had successful seasons and already the focus is on the 2023 season. Good soil moisture profiles exist across our network so protecting this moisture with summer spraying is the current focus. Hopefully everyone can utilise the soil moisture this season as it appears set up for another promising start.
In the chemical world the landscape is SLOWLY getting back to a level of normality. Shipping is nearly back to pre-Covid levels with minimal interruptions. The high glyphosate and paraquat prices are slowly coming back, not quite to where they were pre-Covid but 30-40% off since their highs are certainly making the chemical budget more affordable. Our view is to buy what you need for now. No need to “fill the shed” just yet, but we recommend you buy for the next 1-2 sprays, as there’s still some potential for these prices to soften over the next 12 months.
Most other actives are relatively stable and we are seeing strong demand for immediate delivery as customers swing straight into 2023 without much of a break. We are doing all we can to assist with on-farm delivery with all our trucks running nonstop. Please call your local sales rep to arrange delivery.
Demand for Urea across global markets remains flat and prices keep softening. Our firm advice remains to wait as prices will continue to soften. One word of caution however for those needing Urea (or SOA) for blends at seeding, please ensure you clearly communicate any requirements you have to make sure product is there when you need it. Cast your mind back to Spring and the challenges of getting Urea out when it was needed…
Internationally Phosphate FOB prices have been reasonably stable with some decline in the FOB’s however the Australian dollar rallying from 0.620 in mid-October to over 0.715 in late January has pushed prices lower locally. Growers that have held off purchasing phosphates have benefited by waiting. As noted in the December update picking the bottom of the market is no easy task. Given the recent softening and comparison to international replacement, the current pricing is reasonable.
What we do need to consider however is logistics and availability. By no means are we suggesting the market will be short or there won’t be enough, as there have been many years where the ‘industry’ has cried wolf yet there was sufficient tonnes to meet demand. Whilst supply will no doubt be very tight (reports that vessels due for Australia have been cancelled or redirected), we are genuinely concerned about physical logistics of getting the product from port to farm. We estimate physical deliveries to farm are at least 4 weeks behind normal which is compressing the window for dispatches. On top of this truck availability is tight and ultimately there are only so many tonnes that can be out loaded in a day. Throw into that mix a vessel delay, bad weather when unloading, port congestion, industrial action or an early start you can expect some substantial challenges getting your product when you want it.
3 New Crop Smart Stores opening in South Australia
We’re pleased to announce that we’re opening 3 new stores in South Australia in Minlaton, Streaky Bay and Murray Bridge. We look forward to being able to offer a more convenient service to the growers in and around these towns. If you farm in these regions please get in touch with the local Crop Smart team if you aren’t already.
If you don’t have a store nearby please get in touch as we are able to deliver either on farm or into your local town anywhere in Southern Australia.
We wish you luck in preparing for the 2023 season ahead and please let us know if we can be of any assistance.