2018 fertiliser prices to remain above last year’s levels

Average annual fertiliser prices this year are anticipated to remain above the average 2017 level, according to a new report produced by Teagasc economists.

Due to energy prices being at relatively low levels through 2016 and 2017, the report outlined that this contributed to a period of comparably low fertiliser prices.

However, the report also noted that oil and natural gas prices have been on the rise over the last 12 months and this has contributed to an increase in fertiliser prices for 2018.

The report was produced as part of Teagasc’s mid-year outlook; it outlined how Irish farmers have faced “highly unusual weather” through the first half of 2018.

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For 2017, as a whole, fertiliser prices were down more than 6% on 2016 levels. Prices then began to track upwards again in the first half of 2018, the report explained.

Irish Fertiliser Sales in the first 6 months of the fertiliser year

In terms of fertiliser sales in Ireland, the data listed in the graph above covers the first six months – October 2017 to March 2018 – of the fertiliser year.

For this six-month period, the graph shows a 13% decrease in nitrogen sales – as well as a similar decrease in phosphorous and potassium sales – relative to the same period in 2016/17.

The long winter period and increase in prices may go some way towards explaining the slower rate of fertiliser sales towards the end of March 2018, the report suggested.

The report also noted that dry conditions experienced in June and July will also have tempered fertiliser usage, but remarked that a compensating increase in fertiliser usage can be expected as soon as there is a return to weather conditions favourable to grass growth.

For the year as a whole, the report highlighted that it is likely that fertiliser use will not surpass the relatively high utilisation level witnessed in the 2016/17 fertiliser year.