Cashflow and expansion prospects continues to drive market for dairymen

Dairying: Fuelling land prices in the South.
Dairying: Fuelling land prices in the South.

LAND prices declined in the West of Ireland last year in contrast to Munster and Leinster, according to the findings of a major survey carried out by Teagasc and the Society of Chartered Surveryors Ireland (SCSI).

Prices paid for agricultural land (residential holdings with entitlements) in the West on average dropped by 9% in 2014 to €6,700 per acre and in some cases the drop was as high as 19%.

Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle, said that the continuing rise in land prices in Leinster and Munster reflected confidence in terms of longer term future prospects, especially among dairy farmers.

One of the main findings of the survey is that the buoyant market for land in Munster and Leinster is largely being driven by the dairy sector as farmers seek to expand in the post quota era.

Teagasc Galway/Clare Regional Manager, Brendan Heneghan, told the Farming Tribune that the price trend across the country reflected the prevalence of the dairy sectors in Munster and Leinster.

“Dairy farmers do have a better cashflow situation than most other farming sectors and many are also eyeing up expansion plans in the post-quota era.

“Even within a county like Galway, land prices can be very keen where dairy farmers [600 in the county] see the opportunity of expanding their holdings,” said Brendan Heneghan.

He said that the cashflow situation in counties like Galway and Clare was often driven by off-farm income. “With the recession having a big impact on jobs and income over the past six or seven years, there hasn’t been as much money around to spend on acquiring land,” said Brendan Heneghan.

Teagasc Economist Trevor Donnellan said that land in the Connacht/Ulster region saw some notable downward pressure on prices, with agricultural land – up to 50 acres with residential holdings and entitlements – falling by 9% to €6,700 per acre.

Proximity to Dublin again continues to be one of the ‘big drivers’ in terms of demand – last year, land prices were especially strong around the capital, increasing by as much as 26%.

Land around Dublin – with no residence or entitlements attached – averaged €11,700 per acre in 2014. The average price of agricultural land of up to 50 acres with residential holdings and entitlements in the Rest of Leinster region was €11,947, an increase of 7% on 2013. In Munster, it was €11,608, up by just 2% as compared to €6,700 in Connacht.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.