IFA Inputs Project Team Leader Chris Hayes said that fertiliser prices have come under pressure in recent days with the realisation that demand will be down on last year as a result of significantly higher prices.
Mr. Hayes said, “More business has been done so far this season than in previous seasons as many farmers moved to purchase fertiliser earlier than normal, ahead of impending price rises. Pre- Christmas nitrogen purchases were 30% ahead of normal. Many dairy farmers have covered out their nitrogen requirements until May. In addition there has been a noticeable switch away from expensive NPK compounds to straight nitrogen products such as CAN and urea in an effort by farmers to reduce costs. This has resulted in the price of NPKs such as 24-2.5-10, 27-2.5-5 etc. easing by up to €10/t in recent days as some distributers move to reduce stock levels.”
“International wholesale granular urea prices continue to fall and this will put downward pressure on CAN and ammonium nitrate prices. Urea is now by far the cheapest source of nitrogen available.”
Mr Hayes warned farmers to remain vigilant regarding the quality of product on offer. “Bulk density, granule size and strength will determine the maximum spread width and evenness of spread. Farmers must insist that the product they are purchasing is suitable for purpose. A number of tests carried out by IFA on granular CAN have showed an enormous variation in the proportion of granules falling into the different granule size categories from different suppliers.”