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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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EU Commission driving up fertiliser prices – farm group

The IFA believes the European Commission’s decision in December to prolong anti-dumping tariffs on Ammonium Nitrate from Russia for another five years has contributed to fertiliser price hikes.

IFA farm business and inputs chairperson Rose Mary McDonagh said that the Commission had chosen to protect European fertiliser producers’ profitability while farmers face higher input costs.

“In January, merchants were selling SulCAN at €205-220/t. This week prices are up at €240-270/t,” said Rose Mary McDonagh.

“Irish and European farmers are paying over the odds for fertiliser. The European Commission is undermining the competitiveness of EU agriculture and destroying farmers’ incomes by enabling a dysfunctional fertiliser market in the EU,” she added.

IFA has persistently campaigned for a fairer market for fertilisers, along with its colleagues in COPA. It is opposing the renewal of anti-dumping measures, which “prevent a fair and transparent market”.

Fertiliser price hikes 

Last year, IFA wrote to Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski highlighting ‘the need to see him come out and defend farmers’ livelihoods by demanding a fairer market for fertiliser inputs anti-dumping measures on the import of AN and UAN fertilisers into the EU achieve just the opposite’.

“Our highest cost is nitrogen, but fertiliser prices are artificially high, and farmers have no say in the matter. The Commission has to listen to farmers and recognise the negative economic impact on the users of fertilisers.”

“The fertiliser industry is profitable enough; they do not need further protection with anti-dumping measures,” concluded Ms McDonagh.

Fertiliser price survey

In February 2021, the IFA published the results of a survey on fertiliser prices.

The survey collected the prices of several fertilisers in each county. Results show a significant variation in fertiliser prices across the country ranging from €10/t to €30/t.

The keenest quotes are for volume orders and or near cash deals. In many cases, bulk purchase and self-collection reduce prices by €10 to 20/t.

Some merchants are offering extended credit terms to secure good business. Buyer groups in many instances are securing discounts on the above quotes. Prices quoted to members – Read more on Fertiliser prices.

Last month, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, said his department will be “closely monitoring” how the fertiliser market develops in the weeks ahead.

“The major driving factors are increased global demand, rising production costs and issues with supply for certain fertiliser products.”

“On the demand side, an overall increase in fertiliser use nationally is not expected this year. While fertiliser sales here have been steadily increasing over the last decade, there are generally continuing signs of a levelling off in nitrogen sales in recent years.”

He said that many farmers have purchased their fertiliser earlier this year than in previous years and are not exposed to the current price increases.

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