Fears of a hike in fertiliser prices have been discounted by industry sources who insisted there was no justification for such a move in the current market.
A number of merchants confirmed that fertiliser list prices were withdrawn by some local suppliers over the last fortnight, fuelling speculation of a possible lift in prices. However, both merchants and fertiliser importers stated that demand for product at farmer level had completely stalled, with very little product moving.
While a lot of product was sold in August ahead of the new fertiliser register coming into force, merchants maintained that demand had collapsed over the last month.
“There is little or no appetite among my customers for fertiliser at the minute.
“Anyone who wanted to buy stuff had it bought before the register came in,” a sales representative in the midlands explained.
“There’s also very little forward purchasing going on compared to last year and we’re not pushing them either because lads got so burnt last year with forward buying,” the sales representative added.
One leading industry source forecast that product costs are likely to hold at current levels, given the reduction in European natural gas prices and slow international demand.
Wholesale gas prices have fallen from over €200/MWh (megawatt-hour) to €40/MWh over the last 12 to 14 months.
“There is nothing in the market conditions to sustain an increase in prices at farm level,” the industry source told the Irish Farmers Journal.
Moreover, he predicted that the increased regulation of fertiliser usage across Europe would result in a marked “shrinkage in consumption”.
In terms of prices, CAN is selling for €370/t to €400/t, with granulated urea (46%) selling for €470/t to €500/t.
Protected urea is selling for €550/t to €560/t, while 0-7-30 and 0-10-20 are both costing around €650/t. Farmers in the southeast paid €500/t for 18-6-12, and €560/t for 10-10-20, while Pasture Sward and Cut Sward sold for €540/t to €550/t in the midlands.