Farm Ireland

Friday 20 April 2018

'Landowners want someone who will take pride in farming their land'

Nolan on Leasing

This impressive Amazon 6m seeder is a key piece of Nolan Farming's armoury.
This impressive Amazon 6m seeder is a key piece of Nolan Farming's armoury.
Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

"A lot of land is gifted to people that are in good jobs. It could easily be a farm of up to 150ac, but often it's just not viable for them to start investing in the kit required to farm it.

"That's where I come in. There's no dramas. The rent is paid monthly, quarterly or half yearly – whichever suits them best.

"They also want somebody that is going to take as much pride in farming their land as they or their parents did, so often it is not just the highest bidder that the landowner wants."

Despite this, Kevin has seen a dramatic upward swing in land letting rates in the area.

"There are lads out there offering €300-360/ac, but those guys aren't going to be around for long," he predicts.

While he tries to stick to land within 15km of his farmyard, he has been prepared to travel up to 60km for parcels along the M9 motorway that runs close by.

"The first thing I do when I take on a new farm is cut the hedges, lime the land, and put in double gates so that we don't have any problems getting our gear in and out. That probably represents about €10/ac of an investment straight away.

"I like to top up leases before they even get near finishing to ensure that they are rock solid when I go into the bank with my projections for the next three years."

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But Nolan thinks that landowners' confidence in leasing has been shaken during the most recent round of CAP reform.

"Leasing is in a lot of trouble at the moment because of all the complications surrounding entitlements. I state on all leases that I am not interested in the entitlements. But we might see a growth in share-farming instead.

"The systems that I work assign the costs for the seed and fertiliser to the landowner and the machinery costs to us.

"We split the cost of the sprays. But it involves a lot of trust. You've really got to put yourself in their shoes. So, for example, I mark all the spray cans that belong to them so that it is clear to everybody at all times what belongs to who.

"I also use a peace commissioner to keep the costs of arranging leases to the minimum. Otherwise I'd be paying €1,100-1,200 to a solicitor."

Indo Farming