South Leinster: 'The big dairy men are buying extra land as a fodder buffer'
Land Price Review
South Leinster continues to be the strongest part of the country for land sales and even with the €58,000/ac sale of a farm in Cork it still outperformed its nearest rival, Munster, by more than €1.3m in money generated by land sales.
A total of 21 auctions saw 960ac of South Leinster land sold under the hammer, up 5.5pc on the early months of last year.
These sales realised a total of €14.58m, an increase of 25pc on the 2017 revenue while the average price paid for land in the area comes to €15,041/ac, up 19pc on last year's price.
Kilkenny auctioneer Pat Gannon has rarely seen more land for sale in Kilkenny.
"But the tillage men are not able to compete with the dairy lads," he cautions.
"I have seen people give up on regular cereals with more land going into maize for fodder.
"The big dairy men, having experienced the fodder crises of this year, are buying extra land as a fodder buffer for bad years," he said.
Wexford auctioneer David Quinn sees a significant number of suckler farmers moving into dairy and even some tillage farmers in this big tillage county following suit.
"I know there are tillage men in South Wexford beginning to make that move," he said.
The biggest per acre price paid in the region was spent on 34ac of land located at Creagh, less than 1km from Gorey town.
With road frontage to three sides the place attracted farmers and non-farmers. In a lively auction the holding was bought by the Redmond brothers, hoteliers in the town who paid €1.25m or €36,764/ac for it in a Warren Estates auction.
At the same auction the brothers also paid €270,000 or €90,000/ac for a separate 3ac piece of the property but the sale has not been included in this survey as properties of less than 5ac are not counted.
The sale of a 48.75ac parcel of tillage ground with development potential at Moorepark on the outskirts of Naas saw another headline price of €24,000/ac paid.
The sale was handled by Paddy Jordan and although it is currently pure agricultural land, it has to have 'hope value' given its location.
Further south in Co Carlow a 65ac residential farm at Slyguff near Bagenalstown made €23,000/ac under the gavel of John Dawson. David Quinn of Wexford sold a 57ac non-residential tillage farm at Ballynaboola, New Ross for €18,500 and a 33ac tillage farm at Askamore, Wexford made €17,000/ac.
Michael Connaughton handled the sale of 10ac of tillage ground at Ballinree in Laois that made €17,500/ac. The largest farm to sell was a 131ac holding in a series of plots at Kildrinagh and Woodsgift in Kilkenny where Pat Gannon disposed of the lots for an average of €13,129/ac. One particular portion, a 19ac parcel made €17,685/ac.
The next biggest farm to sell under the hammer was also located in Kilkenny. The 117ac non-residential farm at Tullaroan was sold in lots by Ger Walsh of Walter Walsh making €1.32m or €11,200/ac.
In Co Wicklow the top price paid at auction for land came when a 16.5ac parcel of land with a derelict farmhouse at Ballygahan, near Avoca made €16,750/ac in a sale handled by Raymond Gaffney auctioneers.
Agricultural consultant Mike Brady says there is strong evidence that business people and speculators are raising their heads in the land market again.
"It is clear that farm properties with development potential are being looked at by non-farmers and we have had some real signs of that in recent land transactions in Cork, in Wexford and nearer Dublin," he said.
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