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Farming

Strong letting demand sees prices rise by 15pc

Strong farmer demand for land has pushed letting prices up by 10-15pc in most parts of the country.

But the grab for land that many feared would develop due to the proposed 2014 reference year for single farm payments has not materialised.

Auctioneers report a steady stream of customers for grazing ground, with the majority of holdings making €140-180/ac.

The market in strong dairy areas and parts of the country where good land is in short supply is even more intense and up to €200/ac has been paid.

However, estate agents admitted that the best prices were being paid for new lettings of fresh ground, with many existing leases being rolled over for the existing money or a little along with it.

"It's not all about the money. A lot of owners are very cautious about who they'll let their land to in case they won't get paid," said Mullingar auctioneer Paul Murtagh.

"In most cases people are tending to stay with the tried and trusted customer."

Mr Murtagh said a lot of grazing ground was being rented at €150/ac, with new lettings making up to €200/ac.

Quality

Good quality ground in Meath is making €130-150/ac, according to local agent Thomas Potterton.

In the west, prices are up 5-10pc, said John Earley.

The Roscommon auctioneer added that leases were being renewed for €100-150/ac, with new leases being agreed at €150-180/ac and even €200/ac in cases.

Fermoy auctioneer Michael Barry said demand for grazing ground in east Cork was being driven by dairy farmers and was generally making €170-200/ac.

Mr Barry said there was not enough land coming onto the letting market to satisfy demand and this was driving prices.

He said supplies of tillage ground were equally tight and prices generally were at €200-250/ac.

Kilkenny auctioneer Joe Coogan insisted that €150/ac was the base of the letting market in the area, with €230-250/ac being paid in most cases.

A similar story was reported by Mathew Conry, of Dawson Auctioneers in Carlow.

He said prices in the southeast had increased by 30-40pc this year, with €220-260/ac being freely paid for grazing ground.

Meanwhile in Kerry, Tralee estate agent Eddie McQuinn said he recently negotiated a 10-year lease on a 65ac farm outside Listowel for €250/ac.

Indo Farming