Farm Ireland

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Rented grassland costs hold

Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

Regulations under the nitrates directive are continuing to ensure that even bad land is making decent money.

Auctioneers around the country have confirmed that prices for rented grassland have held at last year's levels despite the fall in land values.

Prices of between €120/ac and €150/ac are commonplace, with an average of €130-140/ac being paid for conacre this year.

West Cork auctioneer Henry O'Leary said a scarcity of available land was forcing some farmers to pay more than they could afford. He said prices were roughly the same as last year, ranging from €120/ac to €150/ac.

"Farmers can't afford to do without it because they have to keep their stocking levels at a certain rate, and this is forcing some to pay more for rented land than they can afford," Mr O'Leary said.

Limerick-based auctioneer Tom Crosse says prices for rented grassland have maintained at last year's levels in the mid-west and are varying between €100/ac and €150/ac, averaging at €130/ac.

"There's no obvious slide, but prices for grazing land have been the same for the past 10 to 15 years," he said.

It's a similar story in the midlands, where demand is high and prices are ranging from €130-160/ac.

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"There was an expectation that prices might be back on last year, but so far that has not been the case," said Paul Murtagh of Murtagh Bros Auctioneers in Mullingar.

"There has been a lot of fodder lost and I think a lot of farmers are looking to have a back-up this year," he said.

Entitlements are driving the market in the southeast, according to auctioneer David Quinn. He says prices of €140-170/ac are the norm for grassland, with better quality land achieving up to €200/ac.

However, there are reports of higher prices being paid in the west, where the average seems to be in the range of €150-175/ac.

Gort-based auctioneer Michael Cunningham says conacre prices for grassland have even reached as high as €200/ac or even €250/ac in some cases.

"In an area like Galway where available land is always going to be scarce this will command a premium," he said.

Irish Independent