New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that fertiliser prices soared by 127% in January of this year compared to the same time last year.

Today's agricultural prices figures from the CSO also show that energy and feed prices are up 31.9% and 18.2% over the same time period.

Those increases come before the impact of Russia's attack on Ukraine is seen. The two countries are major global suppliers of fertiliser, with Russia also a significant fuel supplier.

Meanwhile, milk prices are up 29.7% in January on the same time last year, the CSO added.

The CSO said the monthly input price index is up 5.5% on December 2021 prices while the monthly output price index is down 0.1% in the same period.

This means the resulting agricultural terms of trade index has decreased by 5.3% since December.

The CSO's agricultural output price indices measure trends in the price of agricultural produce sold by farmers, while the agricultural input price indices measure trends in the prices paid by farmers for purchases of goods and service.

Commenting on today's CSO figures, IFA President Tim Cullinan said they show the "very serious inputs crisis" at farm level.

"Fertiliser is 127% more expensive than this time last year. At that price, farmers will find it very difficult to afford what's needed to grow crops this year," the IFA President said.

"As things stand, most co-ops and merchants have suspended sales of fertiliser so farmers don’t have access to what they need," he added.

Noting that the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue wants farmers to grow more, Mr Callinan said this cannot be done if farmers cannot gain access to fertiliser at affordable prices.

"We put it to the Minister last week that the Government would have to come forward with targeted measures to grow more crops and more silage. The key issue here is to tackle input costs particularly fuel, fertiliser and feed," he added.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Mr Cullinan said farmers are also dealing with the "serious impact" of feed and energy costs as well.

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

"It’s a very worrying time for farmers, we’re talking now about food security and being able to play our part in producing top quality food," he said.

"We're dealing with a war now as well, and we’ve been dealing with those concerns prior to the war with Russia and Ukraine. It’s an absolute nightmare situation for farmers on the ground now at the moment," he added,

Mr Cullinan said the impact of the price increase is "atrocious" for the bottom line for farmers.

He said they accept that the price farmers are receiving for their produce has increased, but it is unsustainable to manage an increase anywhere in the region of 127%.

He said the other concern they have at the moment is the availability and being able to ensure farmers have fertiliser and can grow crops for the coming season.

Dr Kevin Hanrahan, Head of the Teagasc Rural Economy Programme, said the increase in fertiliser prices does not necessarily mean there will be a reduction in output.

Also speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, Dr Hanrahan said he thinks farmers will try and maintain output levels as close as possible to where they have been recently.

"It will be about trying to be much smarter and much more judicious in terms of using inputs like fertiliser," he said, adding that "the key thing" is to grow enough forage to feed the majority of animals.

Dr Hanrahan said there definitely will be shortages of fertiliser but it is important that people do not panic-buy and try to keep things going as steadily as they can.

He said the expectation is that they will probably have close to what they would normally have and they were already forecasting that fertiliser use would reduce in 2022 relative to 2021.

Many farmers could think about reducing their fertiliser use anyway in terms of addressing climate challenges, he said.

Dr Hanrahan also said that farmers are likely to see a continued escalation in energy prices and consequently in fertiliser prices.

He said that will ultimately begin to be reflected in the prices that people in Ireland and Ireland’s export market are paying for their food.