In a report to Government, fertiliser importers are claiming they do not have the financial capacity to shoulder the level of risk associated with the purchase of up to 500,000 tonnes of fertiliser before the end of the year.

Importers find themselves in the same position as farmers being forced to carry increased financial risk with no price guarantee. But unlike farmers, they are prepared to step out of the market, warning that without a mechanism to protect their profit margin, there will be a “severe” shortage next spring. While a solution is needed to protect supplies, the difference in commitment of large business versus small family farmers to protect the food supply chain should not go unnoticed.

European dairies promoting Irish model

In this week's edition, Jack Kennedy reports on moves by large European dairies to initiate milk price bonuses and penalties to move their suppliers towards producing more “sustainable” milk.

While the bonuses are still less than 6% to 7% of normalised European milk prices, it shows what some traders are being forced to do to initiate change to a system of production closer to what we take for granted here: less purchased inputs, lower stocking rates and cows out all year round.

If Arla and Friesland see the need for this at a time when the milk transfer market is on fire in Germany, Denmark and Belgium, it shows the competitive advantage our milk has internationally and the in-built premium associated with Irish product.