The sharp increase in the price of fertiliser will have an impact on both farmers and consumers this year, according to Ireland’s EU Commissioner.
Mairead McGuinness has warned that the fertiliser price hike will affect the cost of food.
“There’s a dramatic increase in the price of fertiliser and this will mean that both the supply and availability of fertiliser for farmers will be reduced in 2022.
“There will be a knock-on impact perhaps not immediately on production but certainly in terms of food price inflation,” the EU Commissioner for Financial Services, Financial stability and Capital Markets said.
The warning comes as Teagasc has said that nitrogen prices are up 250% when compared to this time last year.
Teagasc tillage specialist, Ciaran Collins also noted that phosphate and potash prices had risen over the past 12 months, but not to the same extent as nitrogen.
Collins encouraged farmers to carry out soil tests to establish the need for fertiliser on their land and to consider applying lime.
The spiraling cost of fertiliser has been caused by a spike in natural gas prices.
The production of fertiliser is hugely reliant on natural gas and accounts for approximately 80% of the cost of ammonia, a key ingredient for calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) and urea fertilisers.
There is a real concern that rising input costs will wipe out any financial gains made by farmers last year.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue has said that he and his officials will be closely monitoring the market in the coming months.
He said that the Climate Action Plan commits to more targeted and reduced use of chemical nitrogen while maintaining grass production by improving soil fertility and increasing clover and multi-species swards.
The minister has also tasked Teagasc with developing a roadmap for farmers to reduce the use of chemical fertilisers on farms.