Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Friday 22 March 2019

Farmers urged to hold off on fertiliser deals

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Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

Farmers have been urged to hold off purchasing large consignments of fertiliser until Irish prices have eased back in line with the international trade.

John Coughlan of the IFA said deals were available for farmers and buyer groups looking to purchase large quantities, with significant reductions on offer.

"Bulk CAN prices delivered to Irish ports are quoted down €15/t on the previous week to €205/t, €23/t off this season's highs. This will be reflected in local prices, particularly if farmers resist buying at current price levels," Mr Coughlan said.

The larger dairy co-ops opened new season quotes for granular urea at €365/t for big bags delivered, with CAN at €265/t and CAN + sulphur (26N + 3S) €10/t over CAN prices.

The IFA claimed these prices were still available to volume purchasers or group buyers. Mr Coughlan urged farmers to shop around.

Keenest quotes for 18-6-12 + S are from €375/t to €380/t, with €25/t over for 10-10-20, the IFA maintained. Many of the larger buyer groups are achieving significant discounts on the official quotes with extended credit terms.

A hangover of stock from last season has resulted in deals being offered by merchants. Farmers are also resisting efforts to enforce price increases on new-season supplies, the IFA claimed.

Industry sources point out that trade and farmer purchases of new season fertiliser pre-Christmas were significantly down on normal as nitrogen prices ratcheted up steeply from August.

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The unusually mild February saw spot demand for fertiliser pick up, but activity has stalled following the recent heavy rain.

Many trade buyers have also been reluctant to purchase big volumes forward given the continuing weakness of urea and straight CAN prices.

Mr Coughlan encouraged farmers who are not members of buyer groups to purchase stocks with neighbours so as to maximise savings on delivery.

"Co-ordinate fertiliser deliveries with other neighbours because transport is a significant cost for uncoordinated drops," he advised.

Meanwhile, the cold and wet weather over the last week has resulted in a sharp fall-off in grass growth.

Growth rates are have eased back to 12-16kg/ha/day generally and most stock has been rehoused.

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