Fertiliser rise piles on pressure
Fertiliser price hikes expected in January are set to add to the financial woes of farmers who have already suffered sharp increases in feed and energy.
Price increases of up to €25/t have been mooted for urea in 2013, while CAN and compound fertiliser could rise by €5-10/t, fertiliser compounders have forecast.
While official price lists have not yet been confirmed, the predicted hikes would push urea to a farmer price of €450-465/t. However, a farmer price for CAN is less definite, with quotes ranging from €335 to €350/t for the new year.
The price gap between compound fertilisers like 18-6-12 and 27-2.5-5 is expected to be close, with prices of €435-450/t forecast for both in early 2013.
The increases will pile added pressure on farmers who have already shouldered a 7pc hike in tillage fertilisers and a 3pc increase in grassland fertiliser during 2012.
Livestock farmers in particular have suffered high input costs and feed bills for much of 2012. Average feed bills on grassland farms jumped by 15-25pc in the past 12 months as feed prices rose by 7pc to €305/t on average.
International prices for urea have risen by €20/t in the past fortnight as competition for limited supplies increased. A new export tax on urea produced in Egypt, amounting to $90-100/t, is set to severely limit the supply of urea to Europe.
"This will mean a €10-15/t increase on many fertiliser products and on urea it could be a good bit more," commented one Irish fertiliser supplier. "But it looks like getting urea could be a bigger issue than price."