Fertiliser prices have not yet seen any major weakening at merchant or co-op level, despite considerable and continued reductions in global urea prices since last September.
Reports from the industry are that demand is still very low from farmers, resulting in merchants and importers being slow to purchase stock.
This week, CAN has been listed between €800/t and €850/t, while urea is costing farmers in the region of €900/t to €950/t. Protected urea is, in general, €60 to €70 on top of normal urea.
Meanwhile, both pasture and cut sward are still over the €900/t mark in most places.
“The majority of farmers, particularly dairy farmers, have their fertiliser requirement for first round of application forward bought,” one sales rep told the Irish Farmers Journal.
However, a spokesperson from one of the major importers said that if farmers don’t get the rest of their requirements for spring soon, there will be serious logistical issues when grass starts growing and everyone wants it at the same time.
“It’s dangerously quiet at the moment. Farmers will be hanging out for stuff in March and April.
“We’ve left it so late in Ireland, we’ve put ourselves in the danger zone to get stuff. Last year, 40% of our supplies were coming from Russia and that’s now zero, when you were in a hurry this time of year, you’d have it in seven or eight days,” he said.
Liam Woulfe, CEO of Grassland Agro, told a CAFRE arable conference on Tuesday that prices will be “possibly weaker” over the next few months.
However, he also explained that while a reduction in price might come, there could be a level of shortages as well.
Suppliers have also warned that “traditional” blends of compound fertiliser may not be readily available this year, as new sources of product filling the gap left by Russia often have different proportions of N, P and K than farmers are used to seeing on bags.