Farm Ireland

Thursday 22 March 2018

Reference year doubts lead to SFP uncertainties

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Uncertainty over the reference year for future single farm payments (SFP) pushed speculation on SFP entitlements into overdrive in the past week.

Phones have been hopping at auctioneers who trade in entitlements, with more than one auctioneer describing himself as "tormented" by both buyers and sellers.

Farmers anxious to cash in on any potential gains from a 2012 reference year have been plaguing entitlements traders for any possible insight into the future single payment system. And it appears that some are searching for any loophole to boost their payments in the coming years.

"I had one lady ring me to ask if she sold her high value entitlements today, would she be guaranteed that payment," said Maynooth auctioneer Sean Doyle.

"And in the same breath she wanted to know if she bought low value entitlements, would she be in line for a top-up on the future payments," he added.

"I'd want a direct line into Brussels to answer some of the queries I'm getting."

The auctioneer said demand was strongest for entitlements of €150-300, which were selling for 1.3-1.45 times their value. He said demand for €600+ units had slowed considerably.

Wexford-based trader Jay Brennan said that while the number of transactions had slowed in the past fortnight as farmers watched the CAP negotiations, there had been a notable spike in 'tyre-kicking'.

Also Read

"There are lads trading up from low value entitlements to high value entitlements but there is still demand for low value units," he said.

Mr Brennan said high value units of €650 and higher were traded at twice their value, while units of €200-600 were trading at a multiple of 1.6-1.8 and €150-200 units were selling for 1.4-1.6 times their value.

In the west, Galway auctioneer Joseph Naughton said buyers had become more tentative in the past week but units of €100-200 sold for 1.3-1.4 times their value, while those worth €200-400 made 1.3-1.65 times their value and entitlements of €400-800 sold for a multiple of 1.7-2.

"There is still strong interest in smaller value units from buyers who don't have any entitlements at the moment," Mr Naughton said.

Trader Helen McGee said there was strong demand for units of €300-500, which were selling for 1.5-1.8 times their value. Units smaller than €100 sold for a multiple of 1.2-1.3 and units of €100-200 sold for 1.4-1.5 times their value. Entitlements over €800 continued to sell for twice their value.

Irish Independent