Fertiliser prices steadily creep up…but why?

Fertiliser prices are set to rise in the coming weeks, according to the Irish industry – with some already reporting an increase in the prices being paid at local stores for different fertiliser varieties.

The reason behind this, AgriLand understands, is largely due to a global shortage of urea at present.

This in turn has triggered a rise in demand internationally for calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN), driving up prices for this product.

By far the biggest nitrogen fertiliser globally, it was first noticed that urea was coming under pressure for supply when India put out a tender for 1.5 million tonnes of the product in late autumn of 2020.

Some of the supplies from North Africa – traditionally the main supply of urea to European countries – went to India instead, prompting a major scarcity.

Other factors have added to this scarcity, including an increase in gas prices and the semblance of a similar scarcity in the US. In addition, diammonium phosphate (DAP) has also seen reported shortages.

On another note, sources quote suppliers as reporting that the cost of raw materials and the cost of production have increased, in addition to the lift in demand.

With buyers anticipating a peak in fertiliser prices in December, many held off on purchasing until January; however, prices have continued increasing with the fertiliser market still hot with demand.

Also Read: Spring fertiliser prices – what to expect

Industry sources warn, however, while fertiliser is currently expensive relative to where it was in recent years, historically it is not overly so, with the markets having “plenty of potential to stay going to where prices have been in the past”.

Buyers are hoping to see an easing in prices similar to the recent situation with soya, but how this plays out remains to be seen.