THERE has been a surge in the amount of farmland changing hands, although prices, on average, fell marginally in 2013.
A new survey by Ganly Walters auctioneers found a 13pc increase in land sales in 2013 with average prices of €10,500 per acre.
This price was €86 per acre less than the previous year but the market looked likely to rise this year, said Robert Ganly, managing director of the firm.
"We are experiencing a strong demand that looks set to continue for the year. With the good winter so far and the likelihood of substantial yields, coupled with a strong performance in the dairy sector, we expect values are likely to increase by as much as 5pc overall in 2014," he said.
The survey looked at prices for 201 farm sales from Ganly Walters' own research and on sales recorded in the 'Farming Independent' and 'Farmers Journal'.
It found that 13,432 acres changed hands during 2013, up from 12,100 acres in the previous year.
The Dublin/Kildare/Wicklow region fetched the highest prices with a 13pc increase to €14,427 per acre.
The southeast region of Kilkenny, Wexford, Carlow and Waterford saw prices rise 14.9pc to €11,959.
The northwest and west had the highest average increase with land prices up over 20pc to €8,557 per acre.
These sales included Knockglass House, Crossmolina, Co Mayo on 52 acres which went under the hammer for €350,000 and Carnelly House, Clarecastle, Ennis on 74 acres for €660,000.
Meanwhile, prices in the border counties of Cavan, Louth and Monaghan fell by 3pc to €8,011 per acre.