Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has said his Department is monitoring the fertiliser market.

It follows on from a surge prices in recent weeks that has taken many farmers by surprise.

“While there are a number of factors contributing to these price increases, the major driving factors are increased global demand, rising production costs and issues with supply for certain fertiliser products,” the minister said in response to a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy.

“Industry sources indicate that there is no immediate concern with overall fertiliser supplies. It is also worth noting that many farmers have purchased their fertiliser earlier this year than in previous years and are not exposed to the current price increases.

“However, the tightness of supply and current uncertainty in the market could result in a delayed availability of some fertiliser products and, in particular, urea-based products, as the season progresses into March and April.”