The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has called on the fuel supply sector to ensure that the maximum possible benefits of the falling oil prices are fully reflected in retail prices, which he said will obviously be of direct benefit to the farming sector and all consumers.

While the Minister said that it is not possible to be precise in quantifying the benefits that might accrue to farmers this year arising from the recent fall in oil prices.

He does expect that some indirect benefits of the fall in oil prices may arise through downward pressure in contracting charges and fertiliser costs, although other factors may mitigate the extent to which these costs may fall.

These factors include profitability challenges in the contracting sector and falling fertiliser manufacturing capacity in Europe over the past 10 years, which has reduced market supplies, according to the Minister.

Farm input costs

The Minister has also welcomed the fact that generally input prices are falling. He said the CSO’s agricultural input price index was down 3.5% on annual basis in November 2014 compared with November 2013.

This is an indication that, amongst other things, the recent fall in fuel prices is already having a real and measurable impact, he said.

According to the Minister feed costs are not as heavily impacted by fuel prices and, although the costs of drying, processing and transport will be reduced, other factors will come into play such as global growing and harvest conditions in 2015.