Total fertiliser sales have increased by 6% to just under 1.7 million tonnes last year, while the nitrogen content is up by 5%, according to the latest figures by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
Figures published today (Tuesday, July 19) show that in the crop year from October 2020 to September 2021, over half (52%) of all fertiliser sales took place between January and March.
In 2020, total fertiliser sales stood at 1.6 million tonnes. Looking at the past twenty years, the figure was at its highest in 2000 at just over 1.7 million tonnes, before plummeting between 2007 and 2012.
N, P and K content
The nitrogen (N) share of nutrients in fertilisers sold last year stood at 399,164 tonnes, while the share of phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) rose by 4% to 46,068 tonnes and 122,922 tonnes respectively.
Over the past two decades, nitrogen content reached its lowest level in 2011 (295,795 tonnes) after standing at 407,598 tonnes in 2000; its highest share was reached in 2018 (408,495 tonnes).
Phosphorus content peaked in 2000 (49,267 tonnes) before reaching its lowest figure in 2009 (20,231 tonnes). The share of potassium also plummeted in the same year (52,403 tonnes) before reaching its highest figure last year, according to the CSO.
Lime sales increased by 50% last year reaching 1.3 million tonnes, which is the highest figure of the 2000-2021 period analysed by the CSO. However, this data is based on the calendar year, not the crop year.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) collects data on fertiliser sales annually from all companies involved in sales of mineral fertiliser products to retailers.
The CSO notes that sales statistics may overestimate the use of mineral fertilisers in agricultural production, as they may also be used for other purposes, such as in golf clubs or private gardens.