BRITAIN’S ARABLE farmers are now fully aware of the implications of energy costs on fertiliser prices and have responded by purchasing.
Their counterparts in Ireland face an entirely different situation and very few are buying early.
Unlike in Britain, the fertiliser year in both Northern Ireland and the Republic runs from October to September, and fertiliser currently going on to farm is for immediate use.
This will be the case until the end of August when merchants clear their yards of stock and start thinking about the new season.
Whereas in Britain a high percentage of fertiliser goes directly from factory, or quayside, to farm, in Ireland it is taken into stock in the merchant’s yard.
Many of these merchants are small family businesses who feel that they have heard tales of increased prices many times before, so there is no urgency to source fertiliser whilst gas is relatively cheap.
The Irish farmer, therefore, could be in for a massive shock when he comes to buy product in the spring.
The current season has already reflected increased prices by loss of sales.
From the end of July to the end of March volume is down by 33 % and, despite some recovery, the entire season is anticipated to be down by 25%.
Stock numbers are down and reliance on forage has increased.
A potential for significant profit therefore exists, either for merchant or farmer in Ireland, by sourcing fertiliser now.
CURRENT PRICES (£/t)
Domestic N (34.5%N) SP5
£135 where available
Muriate of Potash(60%K2O)
20.10.10 / 27.5.5
|Copper, zinc, selenium,|
cobalt Iodine and sodium
Straight and compound
Republic of Ireland†
|No market||No market|
†Note in the Republic of Ireland nutrients are expressed as elements not oxides. Analyses will not be directly comparable with those used in the UK.
*Known as 24.2½.10 blend in the Republic of Ireland
**Known as 27.2½.5 in ROI
Note All illustrated prices are based upon 24 tonne loads for immediate payment. Prices for smaller loads and those with credit terms will vary considerably.