Fertiliser sales are up 25% from October 2020 to March 2021, compared with the same period in 2019 and 2020, the latest figures from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine show.

This, according to a spokesperson for the department, is “in response to an increase in fertiliser prices”.

“Currently, it is expected that these higher sales will be balanced out over Q3 and Q4,” the spokesperson added, noting that the calendar year for fertiliser sales is from October to September.

Between October 2020 and March 2021, the total fertiliser sold amounted to 934,307t – some 186,464t more than the 747,843t sold between October 2019 and March 2020, the department figures show.

Of this, compound fertiliser saw a rise of 101,085t (21.1%) in sales between the given timeframes, up to 580,974t from 479,889t.

Meanwhile, straight fertiliser went from 267,954t between 2019 and 2020, up to 353,333t by the end of last March – a rise of 85,379t (31.9%).

During the same time periods, CAN has risen from 157,291t to 224,129t, while urea has decreased from 77,041t to 75,544t.

Of particular note is protected urea, which has almost doubled – albeit from a relatively low amount of 16,504t for the period October 2019 to March 2020, up to 31,534t for the same time-frame 12 months later.

The sales N, P and K nutrients have all seen increases as well, moving from 177,828t, 23,619t and 63,285t respectively from October 2019 to March 2020, to 220,251t, 28,357t and 77,053t respectively from October 2020 to March 2021.

This rise in sales almost across the board sits against a backdrop of increased ambitions in the EU to reduce fertiliser. Under the EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy, unveiled almost exactly a year ago, in May 2020, targets have been set to reduce the use of fertilisers by “at least” 20% by 2030.

Meanwhile, prices crept up significantly in recent months due to a global shortage of urea, which had an impact on international trade of fertiliser.