Sources within the fertiliser industry have told AgriLand that large volumes of product are now being moved on to merchants’ premises. And this trend is likely to gain momentum over the next fortnight. Although, given current weather conditions, it is unlikely that any farmer – even on the driest land – is unlikely to consider spreading fertiliser before the beginning of March.

AgriLand has also been informed that quite a number of farmers throughout Ireland were able to secure good deals on fertiliser up to the end of January. This reflected the willingness of merchants to shift stocks that had been left over from last year. However, recent weeks have seen a rise in both Nitrogen and Potash prices.

“This reflects the continuing pressure on all raw material costs,” an industry source in Nothern Ireland explained.

Grassland Agro Area manager Liam Walsh, based in Limerick, confirmed that stocks of fertilisers are now moving out on to merchants’ premises.

“This is a traditional trend for the month of February,” he commented.

“The creameries are not drawing large volumes of milk at this time of the year. So they have the lorries available to transport fertiliser to their various branches.

“But absolutely no product is being spread to ground at the present time. In fact I was talking to a local merchant earlier this week who told me that if the current wet weather continues it could well be the middle of March before farmers get a chance to get out on to ground at all!”

Commenting on fertiliser prices Walsh indicated that there is likely to be little or no change, year on year, across the broad spectrum of fertiliser products sold in Ireland.

He added: “That said, we are seeing a small increase in Nitrogen prices at the present time.”

Walsh went on to point out that Grassland Agro will bring one new product to market this spring. “It is a granulated mix of Urea and Ammonium Sulphate, delivering 33 per cent Nitrogen and 6.5 per cent Sulphur,” he explained.

“It should prove very attractive to cereal growers seeking to get an effective top dressing onto winter wheat and barley crops as early in the Spring as possible. There may well be a demand for the new product from those grassland farmers with a Sulphur deficiency challenge.”