The lower prices being paid for fertiliser across the EU are taking the heat off the European Commission to come forward with farm input cost supports.

Fertiliser prices on the continent have been in freefall in recent months.

Prices began 2023 at a record high and have fallen significantly, although they are still ahead of 2021 levels.

Irish farmers are paying above the going EU market rate after importers here bought up stocks at the higher prices sought from manufacturers late last year amid shortage fears.

The Commission had told EU member states in recent months that they could introduce their own schemes to back farmers struggling with fertiliser costs. Only a handful of EU countries, such as Poland, have done this.

EU authorities are not understood to have been provided with any information that proved anti-competitive practices took place in the fertiliser sector as prices rose.

No member states took up the option of bulk buying fertilisers to sell on to farmers after the Commission suggested they could do so last year to ease the burden of record-high costs.