Skyrocketing energy prices could make fertiliser unaffordable for many farmers next year.
Irish fertiliser companies are understood to be facing difficulty in securing supplies as purchasing groups ramp up orders for the spring 2022 growing season.
One merchant told the Farming Independent the fertiliser suppliers are facing difficulty “even getting a price”.
The crisis has made many suppliers nervous about quoting forward prices and has driven quotes for existing fertiliser stocks to new highs.
Reports suggest 10-10-20 is now ranging from €550-580/t, while 18-6-12 is trading as high as €480/t, with prices expected to increase further.
Norway’s Yara said last week it was curtailing its European ammonia output by 40pc due to a surge in natural gas prices, in a sign of rising input costs for food production.
The cuts follow similar action by rival CF Industries Holdings, which said it was halting operations at two British plants, citing high costs of natural gas feedstock.
Eva Ross, business manager of Yara Ireland, said it was still early days and difficult to say if there will be a fertiliser shortage next spring.
“This depends on market developments,” she said. “We continue to monitor the situation, with the objective of maintaining supply to customers.
“Yara is investing in renewable energy in order to reduce our dependency on natural gas.
“Now is a good time to look at nitrogen use efficiency on the farm and aim to get the most from the fertiliser that will be applied next spring.”
The IFA is calling on the European Commission to immediately address the dysfunctional fertiliser market in Europe where manufacturers control production and farmers face spiralling input costs.
It said anti-dumping duties imposed by the Commission on some fertilisers have removed any meaningful competition from the market and left farmers facing some of the highest fertiliser prices globally.
“With current gas prices and the knock-on impact this inevitably will have on fertiliser prices, the imposition of EU anti-dumping taxes on any fertiliser is completely unacceptable at present,” said IFA president Tim Cullinan.