The difference in the prices quoted for fertiliser across the country is “unbelievable”, according to a senior policy executive with the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).
Karol Kissane, who was among the guest speakers at the Kerry IFA annual general meeting (AGM) held in Tralee last night (Monday, April 24), said that there has been a “drastic fall” in the price of fertiliser in France since last September/October.
However, he said that “it’s only maybe in the last month or six weeks that we’ve seen any bit of a drop in Ireland”.
“The issues in the last couple of months and what I would say, almost for want of a better word, the overcharging for fertiliser here in the Republic [of Ireland] has been unbelievable.
“We’ve been looking at prices in Northern Ireland of maybe €250/t cheaper for urea and for CAN (calcium ammonium nitrate) for the last two to three months.
“Now they’re not making any fertiliser in the north. The fertiliser is actually coming in here to the south; it’s coming into Wexford and Cork.
“It’s going onto trucks and it’s going up to the north but yet it can be sold in the north for up to €250/t cheaper. So how does that make sense?” Kissane asked.
The IFA imported several loads of fertiliser from Northern Ireland in a bid to highlight the price differences on either side of the border.
Kissane said that the issue is also evident across different counties.
“In the last number of weeks, yes, the price of fertiliser has come back a bit but even today I was ringing around there for prices – the difference in the country is just unbelievable.
“Up in Donegal you can get CAN for about €500/t, you can get it in the midlands for about €540-545/t and down here in Kerry at the moment I was quoted €635-640/t.
“What I will say is that you’ve got to keep the pressure on when you’re trying to buy fertiliser. Even within the county I know there are differences and you could get it cheaper than what I quoted there,” he said.
“I know it’s a bit late for most people at this stage because most fertiliser is out for silage and tillage but make sure to keep shopping around because there is cheaper fertiliser there,” the IFA senior policy executive added.
The disparity in the price of fertiliser is due to be discussed by members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine tomorrow evening (Wednesday, April 26).
The committee will be addressed by representatives from the IFA, the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) Macra, the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) and the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA).