Farm Ireland

Thursday 14 December 2017

Majority of dairy farms plan to expand

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

Sixty per cent of dairy farmers plan to expand production during the next 12 months, a major farmer survey has found.

However, 45pc of milk suppliers doubted that the 50pc increase in production set out in the Food Harvest 2020 initiative was achievable.

The Farming Independent survey of 1,008 farmers who attended the National Ploughing Championships in Athy last week confirmed a major drive to grow milk output next year.

Overall, 41pc of farmers said they aimed to increase farm production during the next 12 months, 46pc said they were not going to expand output, while 13pc were undecided.

While 28pc of the 322 dairy farmers surveyed said they had no plans to increase production, 60pc said they intended to grow output. Twelve per cent of those questioned were undecided.

Of the 424 drystock farmers questioned, 34pc planned to increase output, 55pc did not, while 11pc were undecided.

Just 32pc of tillage farmers said they planned to grow production over the next year, 48pc said they did not, with 20pc undecided.

Although just 39pc of the farmers questioned said they planned to buy land during the next three years, this figure rose to 46pc for milk producers.

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Forty-nine per cent of the farmers questioned said they would not buy land in the next three years, while 12pc were undecided.

Meanwhile, doubts were expressed by 45pc of dairy farmers regarding the ambitious targets set out in the Food Harvest 2020 report.

Increasing milk production by 50pc ahead of 2020 is a key goal of the strategy.

However, just 43pc of the 322 dairy farmers surveyed in Athy said the goal was achievable.

Thirteen per cent said the 50pc growth target was 'very achievable', while 30pc said it was 'quite achievable'.

In contrast, 9pc of the milk producers questioned said the goal was 'very unachievable', while 36pc claimed it was 'quite unachievable' -- 12pc were undecided.

Irish Independent

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