See the 700ac farm that the beef and milk barons are battling over
Milk output in Roscommon could be in for a significant hike next year should dairy interests win the battle for a 700ac farm that has just come on the market near Elphin.
The farm is not for sale but is available for a 20-year lease, and is certain to attract enquiries from large-scale dairy concerns, as well as from those finishing big numbers of cattle for beef processors. Indeed, even the beef barons themselves might be tempted to take it.
The property is owned by Marcus Hanly, who runs the nearby Laragan Quarry, and the rental is being handled by the Cork-based farm consultant and auctioneer Mike Brady.
It is located between the towns of Strokestown and Elphin, and is situated 7km from the former and 8km from the latter. It is 26km north of Roscommon town.
The farm is currently all in grass and is divided in to two blocks of 550ac and 150ac. It is described as good-quality grassland by Mike Brady. Indeed, the current owner has cut silage from most of it, he says.
The Corkman points out that the farm is all at an elevation of 350-400ft and is bone dry. "You rarely get wetland around a quarry," he comments.
The lands are currently laid out in big fields, which are accessed off farm roadways. However, Mr Brady says that further roadways will be needed if the farm is converted to dairy-ing. He adds that the filling for any such development would be supplied by the landowner at what he describes as a "reduced rate".
The property is currently run as a beef unit and has a number of double-slatted and loose sheds that provide accommodation for up to 1,000 cattle.
The main farmyard is situated close to the farm entrance, but a second yard located near the centre of the lands could provide the perfect location for a milking parlour if the property is leased for dairying.
The farm is connected to a public water supply, along with having a bored well. It also comes with a two-storey residence.
The property has CAP direct payments totalling close to €47,000 - which the owner is considering selling.
The long-term lease agreement is based on a 20-year term, with rent reviews every five years. Payments will be on a monthly basis.
The lease price mentioned is €225/ac, which equates to an annual charge for the 700ac of €157,500. However, Mr Brady insists that rental price will not be the only consideration when assessing offers.
He says the farm owner is keen to let the property to a candidate who will maintain and keep the lands in good order and develop the holding.
Mr Brady accepts, however, that any potential tenants will have to be financially secure - and a vetting of their farm accounts will be a key element of the selection process.
The farm is available from January 1, 2018, but Mr Brady says it could be leased this autumn if necessary.
Access to sizeable milking platforms has been a serious drag on dairy expansion in many parts of the country to date. The possibility of securing a long-term lease on this size of a farm - which could take up to 650 cows - will there- fore be a massive attraction for dairy concerns.
However, beef finishing units have also been in strong demand over the last few years, with the factories reported to have leased a number of large units around the country from farmers.
The battle between these differing groups for this property will be watched with interest.
For Stories Like This and More
Download the Free Farming Independent App