AgriSearch has commissioned a report to assess the impact of price increases on the economics of fertiliser application for grass production.

AFBI have been appointed to undertake the work utilising the many years of data gathered through the GrassCheck programme and other grassland research projects.

Imported fertiliser is a key component of livestock systems within Northern Ireland.

With approximately 340,000t of fertiliser (86,700t of Nitrogen) used on Northern Ireland farms each year it represents a significant variable cost.

In the past 12 months, fertiliser prices have increased dramatically due to rising energy costs and contracted supply across Europe.

Recent quotes for urea are over £700/t with no immediate reduction in prices forecast for 2022.


AgriSearch general manager Jason Rankin said:

“These price increases [alongside rising feed and energy costs] are likely to place added pressure on Northern Ireland livestock farms.

“It is therefore important to understand the agronomic and economic optimum N application rate to ensure maximum return on investment from purchased fertiliser.

“The report commissioned by AgriSearch intends to inform Northern Ireland farmers with regards likely N response rates from applied artificial fertiliser alongside knowledge on alternative approaches for maximising N returns.

“With continued focus on meeting net zero emissions targets this report will not only address immediate price concerns but also long-term artificial fertiliser reduction goals.”

The report will include:

  • A summary of latest knowledge on N response curves to fertiliser addition (using local data e.g. GrassCheck)
  • Economic analysis to identify the breakeven price of N fertiliser addition under a range of scenarios
  • A summary of other options for cost effective use of N (e.g. organic manures and clover)

Two webinars will be held at the end of January to disseminate the results of the report.  These will be held in partnership with AFBI and CAFRE.  Further details will follow early in the new year.