Fertiliser prices haven't bottomed out yet
Agricultural prices according to the FAO's food price index have fallen by close on 30pc from 2011 to 2015.
The cereal price index alone for 2015 was down by 15pc.
High world grain stocks, the largest in almost 30 years, in tandem with a slowdown in the Chinese and other developing economies, falling oil prices and the resulting turmoil in financial markets continues to pressure world grain and other agricultural commodity prices lower as we move into 2016.
With the world cereal sector by far the largest user of fertiliser the forecast from fertiliser analysts and industry insiders is for fertiliser prices to fall further due to slackening demand and plummeting growers' incomes.
Despite rapidly falling energy and agricultural commodity prices and lower shipping/freight rates European fertiliser manufacturers have been reluctant to reduce fertiliser prices to reflect the new realities.
The continued imposition of anti-dumping duties by the EU Commission on imported fertilisers containing ammonium nitrate, which range from €27/t to €47/t coupled with a customs tariff on imported nitrogen and phosphorous from Most Favoured Nations, is stymying real competition within the European fertiliser market.
Consequently EU farmers are paying a significant and unjustified premium for fertiliser.
The protection afforded to EU manufacturers has seen their net worth grow significantly in recent years. IFA is leading a campaign to have the anti-dumping duties and customs tariffs abolished and has called on the EU's DG Competition to instigate a sector enquiry into the European fertiliser industry.