It's a battle in Ballybrophy as land hungry dairy farmers vie for acres
The high prices being achieved for letting land continued this week with Rathdowney auctioneer William Mansfield reporting a hectic tussle for 44ac of grassland in Ballybrophy, Co Laois.
In two divisions a mile apart one portion extended to 26.75ac and the other in a parcel of 17.25ac.
Three dairy farmers fought it out after it opened at €7,000 a year for a 10-year lease with a five-year review. The price grew steadily as the trio of farmers stuck to their task and Mr Mansfield's hammer finally fell at €14,500 or €329/ac.
"I have never seen anything like it," said the auctioneer. "I've never had so many people looking for land, the phone doesn't stop.
"At the Ballybrophy auction the tillage men didn't get a look in. I have dairy men looking for big acreage, for 100ac and more, and willing to pay €300 or so per acre. It's impossible to get land."
He added that he is "inundated with dairy farmers looking for grazing or silage and money is no problem. I had a man in the yard today with a load of fertiliser ready to spread it on land that wasn't ready to let."
Staying in Laois, auctioneer Joe Coogan got €325/ac and €330/ac for 58ac of grazing ground at Ballickmoyler.