Fertiliser was a leading issue at the IFA hustings in Enniscorthy on Monday night.

“We paid way too much for our fertiliser last year, and that went back to the way it was bought, with profit-taking because of lack of competition,” said Martin Stapleton.

“High input costs are being compounded by the fact that our prices have plummeted this year and then add the disastrous weather on top of that,” he added.

“Our co-ops have a big role to play in that, independent retailers are the only ones holding the co-ops to account. Buying loyally or blindly from your co-op is not the best way to keep your input costs down, but it’s often a source of credit.”

“There’s no doubt, but that farmers were taken to the cleaners on fertiliser prices,” Francie Gorman stated.

“Going back to the autumn of 2021, when fertiliser prices started to increase, I raised this issue in the association. To be fair to Wexford IFA, they ran a fertiliser webinar to try to get some platform for farmers. We [IFA] should have been picking up the ball and running with it, being more proactive in how we do our business. It’s the point I keep making in everything we do, we’re not proactive enough.”

Other issues to arise included the IFA’s finances, young farmers, women farmers, a slurry spreading extension, re-opening exports of breeding sheep to Northern Ireland, glyphosate and prospecting in the Wicklow and Blackstairs mountains.