IFA Inputs Project Team Chairman John Coughlan has urged farmers to shop around before purchasing fertiliser.

Wholesale CAN prices have fallen by over €30/t in recent weeks and this should be reflected in farm-gate prices over the coming days, Coughlan said.

“With the EU fertiliser season rapidly moving to a close, wholesale fertiliser prices – in particular nitrogen prices – have fallen significantly in recent weeks. These savings should be passed back directly to farmers.

Unfortunately, many in the trade, including some of the importers, are attempting to maintain current prices at artificially high levels.

“Wholesale international bulk CAN prices (CIF) have fallen by over €30/t in recent weeks, with keenest quotes under the €190/t price mark. Further price drops are mooted by industry observers,” Coughlan said.

Prices for nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) compounds are also falling, he added.

“Keenest quotes for top-lift CAN are around the €228/t price mark, with prices expected to fall further.

Pasture Sward / 27-2.5–5 and 18s are trading around the €325/t to €335/t price range, with Cut Sward / 24–2.5-10 trading at €7/t to €10/t over.

“Major European fertiliser manufacturers once again, by virtue of their size and the degree of market concentration, have been able to command significantly higher prices within the EU market,” Coughlan said.

He called on the European Commission to move to abolish anti-dumping duties and customs tariffs ahead of the new fertiliser marketing year, which will commence shortly.

“This will stimulate much needed competition in an otherwise dysfunctional market,” the chairman said.

Fertiliser spreaders eligibility under TAMS

Recent amendments to the TAMS II tillage scheme have meant that more fertiliser spreaders are now eligible for approval. Under the previous specifications, only GPS technology for spreaders was eligible.

Thanks to the new specifications, any spreader that has the capability to change the width of spread will be covered. Previously-eligible GPS accompaniments, aimed at avoiding overlaps during spreading, will also remain eligible.

The weigh-cell requirement for spreaders has been dropped under the new specs. This will allow eligibility of several existing spreaders that do not have weigh-cells to be equipped with GPS, and allows for the capacity to vary the spreading width.