Northern Irish fertiliser prices are having an impact further south as farmers import supplies from across the border.

On Tuesday, the IFA grain committee unveiled a load of 27% Yara nitrogen imported from Northern Ireland to Wexford at €560/t (excluding VAT). VAT applies at 20% on fertiliser in Northern Ireland, but farmers in the Republic of Ireland registered for VAT don’t have to pay this VAT.

One merchant who operates north and south is selling fertiliser in Dundalk at Northern Irish prices – CAN at €550/t, SulphaCAN at €565/t and urea at €650/t.

Another merchant operating in the northern part of the Republic of Ireland has sold a large quantity of fertiliser to a customer at €570/t for CAN, €640/t for urea, and compounds for about €750/t.

In the west, one merchant is quoting €675/t for CAN, €735/t for urea, and €795-€805/t for compounds.

Further south, prices aren’t moving much yet. CAN is trading from €670-€730/t, with urea and compounds up around €850/t. Product isn’t moving at those prices. One merchant sold to a large customer at €655/t for CAN, €735/t for urea, and €775/t for 24-2.5-5.

There now is essentially a three-way stand off between farmers, merchants and fertiliser importers.

Once the very dear fertiliser sitting in merchant and co-op yards clears, prices will fall quickly. But who will pay for the dear fertiliser in yards, when, and at what price?

The current wet weather has taken the immediate pressure off the need for farmers to buy fertiliser and get it on-farm.

With little sign of settled weather on the horizon, this becomes a double-edged sword.

As we move towards April, dairy, drystock and tillage farmers all over the country will require compound fertiliser and straight nitrogen in a hurry. The focus may move from price to delivery.