Discounts of £10/t to £20/t are available on nitrogen fertiliser, as numerous merchants across NI grow increasingly anxious to shift stocks purchased last autumn.

Quotes for CAN are in the region of £315/t to £325/t, but farmers in a position to purchase nitrogen report deals being struck as low as £300/t, depending on quantity and when payment is made. It means CAN prices are similar to those back in early to mid July.

Urea is priced around the £410/t to £420/t mark, but again, farmers making enquiries indicate there are deals on offer as low as £390/t.

Cashflow pressures on farms, combined with poor autumn weather, led to a collapse in fertiliser sales during the second half of 2023.

Over the first nine months of this year, total fertiliser sales slumped to their lowest on record for NI at 202,400t, down 13% on last year and 37% lower than 2020 sales.

Merchants usually experience a short-term spike in sales during autumn from dairy farmers stockpiling for early spring and arable farmers planting winter crops.

That boost did not come this year and the knock-on effect has seen many merchants carrying high fertiliser stocks, which is tying up cashflow.

Gas prices have also fallen in recent months, which has effectively encouraged farmers to hold off in the hope of lower prices.

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