Analysis: Have most tillage farms gone backwards in the last five years?
Ricard Deasy told me many years ago that "if you are not making progress you are going backwards".
Given the yields, prices and difficult harvests of the past five years little if any progress has been made on tillage farms in the midlands and if Ricard was right most have gone backwards.
January is the month to make decisions for the coming year. Decisions on cropping programmes and acreages to be farmed are financial decisions skewed by emotion and guesswork.
Emotion and guesswork play havoc with financial decisions. It is very hard to walk away from lands you have been renting for a "lifetime" if someone else comes along and offers a higher price. It is even more difficult to part with your own land if someone offers you a higher price than you can possibly make from it.
The future viability of your farm is determined by profit. Financially if you can earn more by farming land you should farm it and if you can earn more by leasing it out do so.
Tillage farmers have always lived for the prospect of bumper yields and a bumper price. The last one we saw was 2012.
Last year, with depressed yields across many European countries, should have given a lift in prices but for imports from outside of Europe. The fact that we did not get a lift in prices last year decreases the likelihood of occasional bumper prices in future years.