Total fertiliser sales in 2023 have fallen by 18% to 1,135,860t compared with what was sold in 2022, Department of Agriculture statistics reveal.

This drop marks a 33% reduction in fertiliser sales since 2021.

Nitrogen sales have also dropped by 18% to 280,569t, which represents a 30% reduction since 2021.

The climate action plan calls for a reduction in nitrogen sales to 300,000t by 2030, with an interim target of 330,000t by 2025.

These figures show that this target has been surpassed in 2023.

This target nitrogen reduction, the Department said, is due to take place concurrent with an increase in:

  • The area reseeded with clover and multi-species swards (required 750,000ha to sequester 50,000 tonnes of N to sustain growth rates).
  • An increase in soil fertility due to liming (17m tonnes of lime to be applied by 2030 over 1.09 million hectares to release 62,000t of nitrogen to sustain growth rates).
  • Increased use of LESS replacing 2,000 tonnes on N from fertilisers.
  • Without these measures in place, the Department has said that reducing nitrogen applications without having the means to fill this nitrogen deficit in place would lead to reduced crop and grass yields.

    Phosphorus and potassium sales have also dropped, by 10% and 12% respectively.

    The drop in phosphorus marks a 33% reduction since 2021, when phosphorus sales totaled 46,000t.

    Meanwhile, this marks a 33% reduction in sales since 2021, when potassium sales reached 123,000t.

  • Protected urea
  • Protected urea accounted for 13% of total fertiliser sales and 22% of straight nitrogen sales this year.

    The climate action plan calls for 90% to 100% uptake of protected urea on grassland farms by 2030, with an 80% to 90% uptake by 2025.