Conacre stand-off develops
Tough negotiations and conflicting prices are the main features of the conacre market so far this year.
Although auctioneers in some areas maintain that demand will remain similar to last year, others report that farmers are insisting on lower prices for the coming season.
In some cases a stand-off has developed between landowners and farmers who have not yet settled last year's bills.
Few deals have been closed at this stage, but indications are that tillage conacre will either stay at 2009 levels or fall.
Wexford-based auctioneer Denis Howell, from Warren Estates, said several hundred acres in his region have been set at €140/ac.
"Good land is in demand and the range is €140-150/ac for an 11-month lease," he said.
"It's very surprising but it looks like the market is going to hold up at last year's level," he predicted.
"Our average last year was €150-160/ac, with a few exceptions of €200/ac."