Latest figures from the Department of Agriculture show a recovery in the sales of compound fertiliser over the nine months to the end of June.

The Department figures show little change in the total sales of fertilisers with over 1.2m tonnes purchased between October 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015.

However, the figures do show a fall in the sales of straight fertilisers over the period of 4% or 20,000t to just over 472,000t. In contrast, sales of compound fertilisers rose over the period by 25,000t or 3.5% to over 730,000t.

According to Teagasc, fertiliser sales have slowed down from March 2015 onwards due to favourable grass growing conditions and because farmers are aware that better prices may be available with delayed purchasing.

Irish fertiliser prices have tended upward slightly for the first half of 2015 with prices expected to fall in the middle and latter stages of the year, it says.

Teagasc said in its Situation and Outlook report 2015 that the bulk of the fertiliser purchasing at farm level for 2015 will have been completed by the time nitrogen prices reflect the fall in energy prices.

The benefit of lower fertiliser prices may therefore be felt in next year’s production season rather than this year.

Fertilisers account for more of Irish farmers spend on inputs than any other farmers in EU Member States, according to latest research commissioned by the European Parliment.

The research used FADN data to assess the relative importance of the consumption of fertilisers for European farmers.

The average cost shares of fertilisers by Member State, for the periods 1989–2009 and 2004–2012 are reported in the diagram below.

The values show fertilisers reaching an incidence on farming costs as high as 20% in Ireland and as low as 3.6% in Malta.