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News : Irish Last Updated: Jan 14, 2010 - 1:59:56 AM

Irish farmland prices fall but remain highest in Europe - More than 4 times UK average and 10 times price in France
By Finfacts Team
Feb 18, 2009 - 4:15:46 AM

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According to Savills in 2007, in France, each field changes hands at least once every 70 years, but in Ireland on average a field changes hands every 555 years! Total annual turnover in Ireland is less than 0.2% of the total acreage. Countries with sales restrictions, such as France, are cheapest. Land is about €6,000 a hectare, compared with almost €60,000 in Ireland, as French land must be offered first to young local farmers. In recent years in Ireland, demand has been boosted by purchases of “lifestyle farms”, especially within 100 km of Dublin, coupled with the increasing trend of “off-farm” employment leading to commercial farmers in effect becoming “hobby farmers.”

The price of Irish farmland fell by an average of 16.8% per acre in 2008 according to the Knight Frank annual land sales survey. In the UK, a survey by Savills shows that the average value for all types of farmland increased by 21% across Great Britain during 2008. However the price of Irish agricultural land remains the highest in Europe, at more than 4 times the UK level and at least 10 times the average in France.

The national average price for Irish farmland was €21,145 per acre in 2008, representing the drop of 16.8%. The average in Great Britain during 2008 was £4,200 per acre  (€4,726) -  - up 21%.

In the Dublin hinterland, (counties Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow), prices paid for farmland, fell on average by 17.5%. The average price dropped to €25,210 per acre last year from €30,543 per acre in 2007. This was an overall drop of €5,333 per acre, giving a fall of 17.5%.

2008 was notable for a further decline in the amount of successful sales. Knight Frank found that the volume of farmland sold nationally last year fell dramatically, by as much as 42%. In all there were 110 reported sales in 2008, representing a 41% decrease from the previous year’s 154. The total area of land sold in 2008 was just 5,743 acres, compared to 9,933 acres in 2007.

Savills says Ireland has a little over 10 million acres in agricultural use, which put the sales ratio in 2008 at 0.0005743%



A 450 acre farm in County Meath was sold for €13.5 million in early 2008, weeks after a 97 acre Meath farm fetched €1.86 million.

The survey also showed the average plot size being sold to be much smaller, having reduced to 52.2 acres in 2008 from 64.5 acres in the previous year.

This figure is only slightly less than that for 2006, when the average plot size was 54 acres.

Two other trends were also noticeable in 2008, the large number of land parcels put up for sale which failed to reach their guide price and, secondly, there were very few farms for sale in the 200-acres plus category.

Savills says prior to 1999, Irish farmland values were on a par with those in England - at around €10,000/hectare.

The very low farmland sales level in Ireland, signals that the an Béal Bocht (“the poor mouth” ), should be treated with caution. Many farmers receiving public funds, are multimillionaires and huge sums have been made from the land development/roadbuilding bonanza, over the past 15 years.


Irish farmers received a total of €2.630 billion in EU and State funding in 2008.

According to a statement on Tuesday from Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith, there were 141,000 payments.

The total payments from the EU came to €1.293 billion. This single-farm payment contains all disbursements from EU-funded schemes.

Payments of €309 million were also made under the rural environment protection (Reps) scheme which is partially paid for by the Irish taxpayer. Farmers also were given farm investment aid which included  the farm waste management scheme which costs the State €412 million.

Income supports in disadvantaged areas amounted to €254 million and payments of €103 million were made under the rural development afforestation programmes.

The national average payment was €18,690.

In Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan, payments of €322.7 million were made and the average payment was €17,360. In Connacht the payout was €561.3 million, with a regional average of €13,707.

In Leinster, a cost of  €827.2 million, resulted in an average payment was €24,011. In Munster the payments came to €918.8 million, with an averaged €19,663.

Farm organisations are currently seeking an additional €500 million owed to 17,400 farmers who finished farm-waste management work by December 31st last.

IFA President Padraig Walshe said on Monday, that anger was mounting among farmers due payment under the Farm Waste Management Scheme.

Walshe said, “When I left the Minister last Wednesday he had agreed to meet on last Friday with the details. The Minister cancelled that meeting, and while I spoke to him on the phone on Friday, he has gone to ground since.”

Walshe said,“I am determined that no farmer who undertook a FWM contract iThe IFA position is clear, and we are demanding full payment of all monies due to 17,000 farmers. Any arrangement the Minister comes to with the banks is a matter between the Minister and the banks.n good faith loses out as a result of the Government decision to stage payments.”

Padraig Walshe said he was giving the Minister until Wednesday to come up a solution. “The 40:40: 20 option is fast becoming a non-runner, as banks are now putting pressure on hard-pressed farmers for money.”

Finfacts Article: Irish Farmers and Sacred Cows - - including details on the land rezoning bonanza

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