Farm Ireland

Monday 20 November 2017

Irish dairy farmers spent almost 20% less on fertiliser in 2016

Photo: Gabriel Cassan
Photo: Gabriel Cassan
FarmIreland Team

FarmIreland Team

Expenditure by Irish dairy farmers on fertiliser fell significantly in 2016, according to Teagasc.

The saving is significant with pasture and forage costs typically comprising about 20pc of total production costs on dairy farms. Fertiliser purchases comprise about half of the pasture and forage cost element, with contractor costs accounting for most of the remainder.

According to Teagasc, there was a significant decline in fertiliser prices in 2016. It says this reflected the decline in production costs internationally associated with lower energy prices.

Gas is by far the largest cost component of nitrogen based fertilisers. Irish fertiliser prices for 2016 as a whole were about 14pc lower than in 2015.

Teagasc also says that in 2016, for the third year in succession, nitrogen fertiliser sales nationally were relatively static.

It says this is notable given that the total cattle population, and in particular the dairy cow population has been on the increase in the last three years.

DAFM sales figures for 2016 indicate an across the board 1pc reduction in nitrogen (N),phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) sales in 2016 relative to the 2015 level.

Overall, Teagasc says taking account of the marginal change in the level of fertiliser sales and the significant decline in price, fertiliser expenditure per litre on the average dairy farms in 2016 is estimated to have fallen by 19pc compared with the 2015 level.

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On a per hectare basis the reduction is estimated to have been 14pc, according to Teagasc.


Although monthly fertiliser prices are forecast to move upwards through 2017, Teagasc says  the  fall  in fertiliser prices in the second half of 2016, means that fertiliser prices in early 2017 will be  considerably below the price that prevailed in early 2016.

Farmers will therefore benefit from lower fertiliser prices in the main purchasing months in 2017.

Overall, Teagasc says the annual average fertiliser price in 2017 is forecast to be 5pc lower in 2017 compared with the 2016 level.


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