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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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McConalogue: ‘Significant input price increases will put margins under significant pressure’

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, has voiced his concern about the potential impact of rising input costs on the market across a range of agriculture product sectors.

Discussions centered around agricultural market’s current states at the Agrifish Council in Brussels on Monday, November 15th, 2021.

Rising input costs

Minister McConalogue said:

“I am concerned about the negative developments in the fertiliser market and the rising costs of other inputs.”

“Producers are facing significant input price increases in fuel, fertilisers, feed and energy, which will put margins under significant pressure if they are sustained over time.”

“We need to examine all relevant factors, including the issue of anti-dumping duties on fertilisers.”

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Trade on agricultural markets also featured in discussion ahead of the WTO Ministerial Conference which takes in Geneva shortly.

The minister urged the Commission to be “cautious” on proposals for future work programmes in relation to domestic support.

“Our hard-won CAP reforms cannot be undermined,” he stressed.

The minister also highlighted the need to ensure the maintenance of fuel detaxation subsidies for fisheries.

Other items discussed at the Council included new Council conclusions on the EU Forest Strategy.

Minister McConalogue welcomed the agreement on the new Strategy, which will be a “key” reference point in forest-related policy development.

“Ireland has now begun preparation of its own new National Forest Strategy”, declared Minister McConalogue.

“Our strategy will take into consideration the EU Forest Strategy, the EU Biodiversity strategy and the ambition outlined in the Green Deal.”

‘Some farmers paid up to €500/t for smaller amounts of 18-6-12’

With chemical fertiliser prices soaring and availability limited, farmers “seriously” need to look at their farm’s soil profile.

That is the key message Keith Fahy, B&T Drystock Adviser, Teagasc Galway/Clare is conveying to farmers.

He said these price hikes were among other topics, including a lack of labour, possible power outages and fuel prices, which he discussed with farmer clients in recent weeks.

“It certainly is a year like no other. All this brings farmers back to the basics, and they were never as important.”

“Meal prices have gone up another €20-€30/tonne in the last few weeks. Some merchants are not even quoting fertiliser prices.”

“I spoke to three merchants about fertiliser. The conclusion is it cannot be got.”

“Even considering some prices have increased by up to €200/tonne in 12 months, farmers still cannot physically get fertiliser in their yards due to supply issues.”

“One merchant told me that before the chemical fertiliser deadline, some farmers paid up to €500/t for smaller amounts of 18-6-12. The same fertiliser started off around €330/t last January.”

“We need to make the most of the soil we have. We need to ensure that we are as efficient with inputs as possible as they are too valuable to be wasting.”

“A tonne of fertiliser at current prices can cost up to €500, while lime is only €25/tonne,” he pointed out.

Read more on that in this article.

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