Fertiliser prices climb €50-60/t as spreading dates draw nearer

The ceasing of the prohibited period for artificial fertiliser spreading is fast approaching and many farmers are beginning to price products such as urea, CAN (calcium ammonium nitrate) and 18:6:12.

The first of the closed periods for spreading comes to an end this week and farmers are getting worried about high prices ahead of the upcoming season.

slurry deadline

Across the three above-mentioned products, prices have generally climbed by €50-60/t on the corresponding period in 2017, a recent survey carried out by AgriLand has found.

CAN is now trading at €250-260/t, which is up considerably on the €205/t for which the product was available last January.

Although trading has yet to kick into top gear, urea prices have also climbed significantly when compared to January 2017. For the most part, farmers are looking at €335-360/t to purchase this product – a marked increase on the €280-290/t paid last January.

Looking at compounds such as 18:6:12, prices of €345-360 have been reported. Last year, this product stood closer to the €350/t mark.

Price increase worrying for farmers

On the higher prices, John Coughlan, IFA (Irish Farmers’ Association) Inputs Project Team chairman, said: “It’s very worrying from a farmer’s point of view when you see the difference in price today compared to 12 months ago.

“When you look at the price now – compared to this time last year – there is no reason for that increase at all, because the price of natural gas has only marginally increased. The most that [rise] would put on the price of fertiliser is €5-6/t. So, why has it gone up €50?

Coughlan stated that there is no consistency with prices, adding: “Prices are all over the place in every part of the country. Merchants don’t seem to have an appetite to sell at the moment, compared to previous years.”

The IFA representative wants to see something done about competition in the market.

“It’s obvious that there’s a huge cartel operating in the fertiliser market with the way prices were held back [last year]. From August to November, prices were held back almost completely.

The very fact that we don’t have a producer in this country means that the blenders are at a serious disadvantage.