IFA president Tim Cullinan said analysis carried out by IFA shows that the price differential for fertiliser between here and the North could cost farmers a quarter of a billion euro in 2023 if not passed onto farmers.

Fertiliser from the North has been delivered to farmers in Wexford as part of IFA’s campaign, highlighting the price differential between the product here and in the North.

IFA president Tim Cullinan said the cost of this order of CAN fertiliser, if purchased locally rather than in the North, would have been nearly 30% higher, based on recent quotes.

“It’s unacceptable for co-ops and merchants to keep fertiliser prices at inflated levels. There is no justification for this price differential, as all the fertiliser used on the island is coming from the same sources,” he said.

“There was huge frustration at our national council meeting last week. Farmers need fertiliser and they feel they are being held over a barrel by the fertiliser industry,” he said.

IFA grain chair Kieran McEvoy said windfall profits of up to €250/t were made on fertiliser last year.

“Farmers cannot afford for this to happen again this year. Fertiliser prices internationally have fallen massively over the last couple of months, but Irish farmers are not benefiting. The tillage sector, in particular, is a priority as farmers are buying fertiliser and spreading for their 2023 crops at the moment,” he said.

IFA farm business chair Rose Mary McDonagh added: “While the tillage sector is being hit with these exorbitant prices at this moment, many beef, sheep and dairy farmers will be looking to purchase fertiliser in the next two weeks for grazing and silage. With margins looking very tight in these sectors for 2023, it is vital that all farmers see the large price reductions passed back immediately.”