Cheaper fertiliser supplies in the North have driven prices down in the South, with merchants dropping their price by €100/t since Monday.
Last month, industry sources told the Farming Independent that fertiliser prices were to remain high in Ireland this spring, but new pressure from the North has encouraged a rapid price drop.
The Farming Independent has been quoted €560/t for straight nitrogen by a merchant operating just south of the border, after weeks of quotes in the region of €800/t for nitrogen in the Republic.
IFA President Tim Cullinan said analysis by the Association shows that the price differential for fertiliser between the South and the North could cost farmers a quarter of a billion euro in 2023 if it is not passed onto farmers.
Fertiliser from the North had been delivered to farmers in Wexford this week as part of IFA’s campaign highlighting the price differential.
It was distributed to farmers from a farmyard in Enniscorthy. Mr Cullinan said the cost of this order of CAN, if purchased locally, would have been nearly 30pc higher, based on recent quotes.
“It’s unacceptable for co-ops and merchants to keep fertiliser prices at inflated levels. There is no justification for this price differential as all the fertiliser used on the island is coming from the same sources,” he said.
“There was huge frustration at our National Council meeting last week. Farmers need fertiliser and they feel they are being held over a barrel by the fertiliser industry.”
IFA Grain Chair Kieran McEvoy said windfall profits of up to €250/t were made on fertiliser last year.
“Farmers cannot afford for this to happen again this year. Fertiliser prices internationally have fallen massively over the last couple of months but Irish farmers are not benefitting. The tillage sector, in particular, is a priority as farmers are buying fertiliser and spreading for their 2023 crops at the moment,” he said.
IFA Farm Business Chair Rose Mary McDonagh added that “while the tillage sector is being hit with these exorbitant prices at this moment, many beef, sheep and dairy farmers will be looking to purchase fertiliser in the next two weeks for grazing and silage.
“With margins looking very tight in these sectors for 2023, it is vital that all farmers see the large price reductions passed back immediately.”