Hot debate over price of conacre
Wise to shop around, especially if grain prices continue to rise
Uncertainty and confusion appear to be the biggest elements at play in the conacre market as farmers and landowners debate how much tillage land is worth.
While individual auctioneers have quoted prices as high as €200/ac in the south, estate agents in the midlands have closed deals at €130-140/ac.
Some farmers still harbour the suspicion that this year could be used as a reference point for changes to the single farm payment, with the result that some landowners are reluctant to let out their land.
The payment capacity of farmers is playing a role in negotiations. As one commentator put it: "I'd rather get €150/ac from the man who can pay it than be offered €200 from the fellow who can't."
However, auctioneers remain adamant that rental prices will increase this year on the back of higher grain prices.
Kildare-based agent Luke Dempsey said the baseline for conacre prices had risen from €95-100/ac last year to €130-140/ac this year.
"The rise reflects the increase in grain prices," he said. "There is huge demand for land.
"A lot of people are still afraid that this could be a reference year and are holding onto land."