Two in five dairy farmers plan to use less artificial nitrogen fertiliser in 2024 compared to 2023, the Irish Farmers Journalreader survey has revealed.

However, 54% of the 305 dairy farmers who responded to the survey said they will spread the same amount of fertiliser this year, with 7% saying they plan to spread more fertiliser this year.

Meanwhile, 44% of suckler farmers said they intend to use less artificial nitrogen fertiliser this year. Half of the suckler farmers surveyed said they would maintain the same level of usage, and 6% plan to use more fertiliser this year.


Recent figures from the Department of Agriculture show that fertiliser sales have dropped by 7% to 337,246t for quarters one and two of the 2023/2024 season (1 October 2023 to 31 March 2024).

When comparing figures from this period to the previous year, sales of phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) were down by 16.5% and 11% respectively. Overall sales of nitrogen were back by 6.5%.

Drop in volumes

According to the CSO, overall sales of nitrogen fertiliser in 2023 fell by 18% to 280,569t in the lowest year-on-year drop in volumes recorded in the past two decades.

The decline in 2023’s sales followed a 14% drop in nitrogen sales the previous year.

Soil sampling

Meanwhile, of the 370 suckler farmers asked if they had soil sampled their farms in the last two years, 79% said they had while the remaining 21% hadn’t.

Meanwhile, 68% of the dairy farmers surveyed said that they were not short on fodder supplies this spring. However, a third (32%) said that they did not have enough fodder supplies to tide them over the spring.