Warning on €200/ac bids for conacre
Conacre prices are still averaging close to €200/ac in many parts of the country, despite warnings from agricultural advisers that farmers will lose money at these levels.
A desire to maximise Single Farm Payment (SFP) entitlements over the coming seven years continues to drive demand in a repeat of last year's heated market.
The maximum amount of land a farmer will be able to claim on over the next seven years was based on what was submitted in 2013. However, the value of the entitlements will be based on the total value of each farmer's SFP in 2014.
Prices in excess of €200/ac were commonplace in parts of Tipperary, Cork, Wexford and Carlow last year, but some farmers paid out much more to over fears that it would affect their SFP until 2020.
"Last year €200/ac was close to the average here in Carlow, with a lot of farmers paying €225-230/ac," said local auctioneer John Dawson. "I suspect that this year prices may be on a more even keel."
In Wexford, Denis Howell said he was expecting conacre to settle closer to €200 this year, with €250/ac being the upper limit.
"Prices were a bit false in some areas last year because of speculation about CAP, but I would expect it to be closer to €200-250/ac this year," he maintained.
Maynooth auctioneer Sean Doyle has re-let 500 acres so far, with private deals ranging from €170/ac to €200/ac.