Dairy expansion headache for pork and poultry sectors
The land area available for spreading pig slurry and chicken litter is being significantly restricted in mixed farming regions by the expansion of dairying.
A sharp increase in the cost of rental land again this year has seen more tillage ground switch to dairying.
This will inevitably reduce the area of land available to pig and poultry producers to slurry and litter spreading, both auctioneers and farm consultants have warned. Auctioneers confirmed that dairy farmers have freely paid €260-300/acre for tillage ground recently, and are willing to carry the cost of reseeding the ground where long-term contracts are agreed.
Cereal growers have been unable to compete with the dairymen and are being blown off traditional tillage ground as a result.
"The dairy man is willing to take the tillage ground, reseed it and pay over €300/ac for it on a seven-year lease," said Fermoy auctioneer Dan Fleming.
Nenagh-based auctioneer Eoin Dillon said it was a similar story in the mixed tillage and dairy country of north Tipperary.
"I saw €265/ac paid for tillage land by a neighbouring dairy farmer on a seven-year lease, but he has to reseed it," he said.
Both auctioneers felt the continued expansion in dairying is likely to cause difficulties for pig and poultry farmers by restricting access to land for slurry and litter. "This is a real problem. I am concerned about it," said Mr Fleming.