Farmland prices buck the national trend with 15pc rise
FARMLAND has bucked the downward slump in property prices, rising by almost 15pc last year, new figures show.
Agricultural land fetched €10,064 per acre on average last year, up from €8,776 the previous year, a survey by estate agents Knight Frank Ireland found. The growth in land prices almost exactly matched the higher prices paid for the food it produced, with farmers getting 14.5pc more for their produce in 2011, new Central Statistics Office figures showed.
It is the first time in more than four years that farm prices rose, according to Knight Frank.
Its annual survey was based on 142 completed farmland sales advertised nationally.
The Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow region was the only area to see a drop in farm prices last year -- linked to some very large farms changing hands there at a lower price per acre -- and if they were excluded the average price per acre rose by a whopping 29pc.
Most of the farmland sold last year was purchased by farmers, and some of it was snapped up by those who had sold it at a more inflated price during the boom.
Robert Ganly of Knight Frank Ireland said the increase was very promising for farming.
"The re-emergence of farmers back in the marketplace with the majority of properties having been bought by farming families over the past 12 months is indicative of a strengthening agricultural economy," he said.
Some farmers were scaling up in advance of changes to the EU's Common Agricultural Policy which would make it advantageous to have larger farms, he said.
Over 9,000 acres changed hands in total during 2011.
Meanwhile, CSO figures showed that cereal prices soared by 31pc last year and cattle prices were up 20pc.
However, higher energy, feed and fertiliser prices meant farming costs rose by 10.8pc.