• The 2003 CAP reform: Do decoupled payments affect agricultural production?

      Howley, Peter; Hanrahan, Kevin; Donnellan, Trevor (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2009)
      The move from coupled payment policy instruments to payments that are decoupled from production have made estimating future trends in agricultural output much more challenging. Using a dynamic multi product partial equilibrium model, the overall aim of this paper is to examine the potential supply inducing effect of decoupled payments. This issue is important in the context of WTO negotiations, and, in particular, in discussions surrounding the appropriateness of decoupled payments being included as a ‘green box’ policy. The results suggest that farm operators, to a large extent, do not treat these payments as fully decoupled and they do in fact maintain a strong supply inducing effect on agricultural production. Findings suggest, however, that this trade distorting effect is less than previously coupled payments.
    • AgriBenchmark: Benchmarking Sustainable Nutrient Management on Irish Farms

      Murphy, Paul N.C.; Thomas, Ian; Buckley, Cathal; Kelly, Edel; Dillon, Emma; Hennessy, Thia; Environmental Protection Agency (2020-10-14)
      AgriBenchmark explored the possibilities for benchmarking of nutrient management performance on Irish farms. Teagasc National Farm Survey (NFS) data (2008–2015; 1446 farms) were used to characterise and explore the potential for improvement of farm nutrient management performance and resultant aspects of environmental and economic sustainability through the derivation of three key performance indicators (KPIs) at the farm-gate level: farm nutrient balance (kgha–1), nutrient use efficiency (NUE; %) and profitability (gross margin; €ha–1). In this report, the farm nutrient balance is defined as the farm-gate nutrient imports (fertiliser, feed, animals, etc.) minus the exports (animals, crops, wool and milk). A positive balance (surplus) is considered to represent a nutrient source pressure in terms of the risk of nutrient losses to the wider environment. The data and analyses in this report cover the main, more intensive agricultural systems in Ireland (excluding pig and poultry farms) and are representative of, on average, 61% of farms nationally and 76% of the total utilised agriculture area (UAA; excluding commonage).
    • Agriculture, Rural Development and Potential for a ‘Middle Agriculture’ in Ireland

      Macken-Walsh, Aine (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2010-03)
      This paper gives a brief overview of current farm viability in Ireland and summarises some of the main ‘barriers’ to farm families’ engagement in contemporary rural development programmes. Against this backdrop, the paper discusses the potential of a middle agriculture model for rural development. The capacity of such a model to address some of the economic, social and cultural predicaments of Irish family farms is outlined. The potential of the model is also discussed in terms of how it may respond to contemporary EC rural development policy priority objectives.
    • An Analysis of Abatement Potential of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Irish Agriculture 2021-2030

      Lanigan, Gary; Donnellan, Trevor; Hanrahan, Kevin; Carsten, Paul; Shalloo, Laurence; Krol, Dominika; Forrestal, Patrick J.; Farrelly, Niall; O’Brien, Donal; Ryan, Mary; et al. (Teagasc, 2018-06-10)
      This report has been prepared by the Teagasc Working Group on GHG Emissions, which brings together and integrates the extensive and diverse range of organisational expertise on agricultural greenhouse gases. The previous Teagasc GHG MACC was published in 2012 in response to both the EU Climate and Energy Package and related Effort Sharing Decision and in the context of the establishment of the Food Harvest 2020 production targets.
    • An Analysis of the Cost of the Abatement of Ammonia Emissions in Irish Agriculture to 2030

      Buckley, Cathal; Krol, Dominika; Lanigan, Gary J.; Donnellan, Trevor; Spink, John; Hanrahan, Kevin; Boland, Andy; Forrestal, Patrick; Humphreys, James; Murphy, Pat; et al. (Teagasc, 2020-09)
      This analysis quantifies the potential to abate national ammonia (NH3) emissions up to 2030. This report is an updated marginal abatement cost curve (MACC) analysis where Teagasc has quantified the abatement potential of a range of ammonia mitigation measures, as well as their associated costs/benefits (see Lanigan et al. 2015 for previous analysis). The objective of this analysis is to quantify the extent and costs associated with meeting future ammonia emission targets that were negotiated as part of the amended Clean Air Policy Package. The requirement to reduce ammonia emissions is urgent, both in terms of compliance with the National Emissions Ceilings Directive (NECD), and as a principal loss pathway for agricultural nitrogen (N). Improvement of N efficiency is a key focus for improving farm efficiency and sustainability as well as reducing the ammonia, nitrate and greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint of agriculture. This is particularly relevant in the context of the national strategies on the development of the agri-food sector: Food Wise 2025, Ag-food strategy 2030 and Ag-Climatise (currently under development) and the newly unveiled EU Farm to Fork Strategy, which is a part of the European Green Deal. Under the baseline scenario (S1), agricultural ammonia emissions are projected to increase by 9% (without any mitigation) by 2030 relative to 2005 levels. While these increases are small in comparison to the targeted increase in agricultural output, they will provide a major challenge to meeting emissions targets, particularly as agriculture comprises over 99% of national emissions. The analysis presented in this report seeks to quantify the ammonia mitigation potential under likely uptake pathways. This is not an exhaustive analysis of all mitigation measures, but represents an assessment of best available techniques, based on scientific, peer-reviewed research carried out by Teagasc and associated national and international research partners. Indeed, any future changes in the sector or in the national emission inventory calculations will require further analysis of the applicability of ammonia mitigation techniques, particularly in terms of housing and storage but also in the context of other reactive N1 emissions. It should also be noted that some mitigation measures, particularly those related to nitrogen application to soils, could result in either higher greenhouse gas emissions or higher nitrate leaching. Compared to a future where no mitigation measures are deployed to address emissions, by 2030 the average technical abatement2 potential was estimated to be approximately 15.26 kt NH3 at a net cost of €10.86 million per annum. However, it should be noted that the net cost (€10.86 million) is comprised of 6 measures that are cost negative (-€22.21 million) and 7 measures that are cost positive (€33.07) and that some of the cost negative measures are predicated on efficiency gains driven by best management practice adoption (e.g. liming and clover measures with associate chemical N reductions). Amongst the thirteen mitigation measures selected for this analysis, 80% of the mitigation potential can be achieved by the full implementation of the mitigation pathways for protected urea and low emission slurry spreading (LESS) techniques for bovines. It should be stressed that this is an assessment of the maximum abatement potential and realising this level of abatement in practice will be extremely challenging. Any increase in agricultural activity beyond the baseline scenario will increase absolute emissions. The level of mitigation achievable is based on the draft AgClimatise measures any delay or reduction in the uptake of these measures will reduce the mitigation achieved. It must also be ensured that all mitigation measures should, where possible, be synergistic with reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and N loss to water.
    • Anthelmintic-resistant nematodes in Irish commercial sheep flocks- the state of play

      Good, Barbara; Hanrahan, James P; de Waal, Daniel Theodorus; Patten, Thomas; Kinsella, Andrew; Lynch, Ciaran Oliver (Biomed Central, 2012-12-22)
      Anthelmintic resistance has been reported in most sheep producing countries. Prior to the mid 1990s, reports of anthelmintic resistance in Ireland were sparse and focused on benzimidazole, one of the three classes of anthelmintic available during this period. This evidence for efficacy issues on Irish farms combined with awareness that anthelmintic resistance was increasingly being reported in other countries prompted the need for more comprehensive investigations on Irish farms. Faecal egg count reduction and micro-agar larval development tests were employed to investigate resistance to benzimidazole, levamisole and macrocyclic lactone. There is compelling evidence for resistance to both benzimidazole (>88% of flocks) and levamisole (>39% of flocks). Resistance of nematode populations to macrocyclic lactone was suspected on a small number of farms (11%) but needs to be confirmed. The recent introduction of two new classes of anthelmintics, after over a 25 year interval, together with the evidence that anthelmintic resistance is reported within a relatively short time following the introduction of a new anthelmintic compound means that the challenge to the industry is immediate. Actions are urgently required to manage anthelmintic resistance so as to prolong the lifespan of anthelmintics.
    • Application of data envelopment analysis to measure technical efficiency on a sample of Irish dairy farms

      Kelly, Eoin; Shalloo, Laurence; Geary, Una; Kinsella, Anne; Wallace, Michael (Teagasc, 2012-12)
      The aim of this study was to determine the levels of technical efficiency on a sample of Irish dairy farms utilizing Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and to identify key management and production factors that differ between producers indentified as efficient and inefficient. DEA was used in this study to generate technical efficiency scores under assumptions of both constant returns to scale (CRS) and variable returns to scale (VRS). The average technical efficiency score was 0.785 under CRS and 0.833 under VRS. Key production characteristics of efficient and inefficient producers were compared using an analysis of variance. More technically efficient producers used less input per unit of output, had higher production per cow and per hectare and had a longer grazing season, a higher milk quality standard, were more likely to have participated in milk recording and had greater land quality compared to the inefficient producers.
    • Assessing the Geographic Representativity of Farm Accountancy Data

      green, stuart; O'Donoghue, Cathal (MDPI AG., Basel, Switzerland, 06/02/2013)
      The environment affects agriculture, via soils, weather, etc. and agriculture affects the environment locally at farm level and via its impact on climate change. Locating agriculture within its spatial environment is thus important for farmers and policy makers. Within the EU countries collect detailed farm data to understand the technical and financial performance of farms; the Farm Accountancy Data Network. However, knowledge of the spatial-environmental context of these farms is reported at gross scale. In this paper, Irish farm accounting data is geo-referenced using address matching to a national address database. An analysis of the geographic distribution of the survey farms, illustrated through a novel 2D ranked pair plot of the coordinates, compared to the national distribution of farms shows a trend in the location of survey farms that leads to a statistical difference in the climatic variables associated with the farm. The farms in the survey have significantly higher accumulated solar radiation values than the national average. As a result, the survey may not be representative spatially of the pattern of environment x farm system. This could have important considerations when using FADN data in modelling climate change impacts on agri-economic performance.
    • Can technology help achieve sustainable intensification? Evidence from milk recording on Irish dairy farms

      Balaine, Lorraine; Dillon, Emma J.; Läpple, Doris; Lynch, John; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; University of Oxford; 14/ 889; 205212/Z/16/Z (Elsevier BV, 2020-03)
      This article explores the potential of a farm technology to simultaneously improve farm efficiency and provide wider environmental and social benefits. Identifying these ‘win-win-win’ strategies and encouraging their widespread adoption is critical to achieve sustainable intensification. Using a nationally representative sample of 296 Irish dairy farms from 2015, propensity score matching is applied to measure the impact of milk recording on a broad set of farm sustainability indicators. The findings reveal that the technology enhances economic sustainability by increasing dairy gross margin and milk yield per cow. Furthermore, social sustainability is improved through a reduction in milk bulk tank somatic cell count (an indicator of animal health and welfare status). Conversely, milk recording (as it is currently implemented) does not impact farm environmental sustainability, represented by greenhouse gas emission efficiency. While the study shows that milk recording is a ‘win-win’ strategy, ways of improving current levels of utilisation are discussed so that milk recording achieves its ‘win-win-win’ potential in the future.
    • Can’t See the Wood for the Trees: The Returns to Farm Forestry in Ireland

      Breen, J.; Clancy, D.; Ryan, Mary; Wallace, Michael (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2010)
      The period 2007-2009 witnessed considerable variability in the price of outputs such as milk and cereals and this was compounded by a high degree of volatility in the price of inputs such as fertilizer, animal feed and energy. Previously, Irish farms have used the returns to off-farm employment as well as agricultural support payments such as the Single Farm Payment (SFP) and the Rural Environmental Protection Scheme (REPS) to protect their living standards against low and uncertain agricultural market returns. However, the downturn in the Irish economy has led to a reduction in the availability of off-farm employment and also the discontinuation of REPS. This may lead to an increase in afforestation on Irish farms, as forestry offers greater certainty through the provision of an annual premium in addition to the SFP. However, the decision to afforest represents a significant long-term investment decision that should not be entered into without careful economic consideration. The aim of this paper is to use the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) analysis method to calculate the returns to forestry under alternative opportunity costs associated with conventional agricultural activities being superseded. The returns to forestry are calculated using the Forestry Investment Value Estimator (FIVE). These returns were then incorporated in the DCF model along with the returns to five conventional agricultural enterprises, which would potentially be superseded by forestry. This approach allows for the calculation of the Net Present Value (NPV) of three forestry scenarios.
    • CAP reform post 2013: Examining the equity dimensions of agricultural support.

      Howley, Peter; Donnellan, Trevor; Hanrahan, Kevin; European Commission; SSPE-CT-2005-021543 (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2009)
      Using a dynamic multi-product partial equilibrium model, this paper firstly examines the potential impact of recent policy changes accruing from the mid term review of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in 2003 on the cattle and sheep sectors in Ireland. Secondly, this paper evaluates the potential impact of the implementation of a CAP budget neutral, common EU flat area payment across all Member States. The European Commission has signalled that it will be evaluating current differences in the level of support between Member States as, for example, in the explanatory memorandum accompanying the Commission’s Health Check proposals the Commission argues that it is “increasingly harder to justify the legitimacy of significant individual differences in the support level which are only based on past support” (CEC, 2008; p.18). This paper demonstrates how there are significant differences in the level of CAP payments per hectare across Member States, as generally farmers in more prosperous Western and Nordic countries receive a much higher level of payment per hectare than farmers in relatively poorer Central and Eastern European countries. In relation to Ireland, similar to most other EU-15 countries, farmers benefit from the current inequitable distribution of payments and the results indicate that any move towards equalising the level of payments per hectare will have a significant negative impact on agricultural production and net trade.
    • Cap reform: implications for Ireland

      Howley, Peter; Donnellan, Trevor; Hanrahan, Kevin; European Commission (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2009)
      Increasingly farmers can be viewed as multifunctional providers of a range of commodity and non-commodity goods that are valued by society. Changes to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) such as the shift towards decoupled payments not only have significant effects on agriculture but also rural areas and society more generally. Given that the CAP is likely to be the most significant driving force for change in the Irish countryside, it will be important to assess the impact of policy changes. Using a dynamic, multi-product, partial equilibrium model, this paper firstly examines the potential impact of recent policy changes accruing from the Mid-Term Review of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). In addition, this paper highlights additional potential reforms of the CAP and discusses their implications for the Irish agricultural sector.
    • The capacity to expand milk production in Ireland following the removal of milk quotas

      Lapple, Doris; Hennessy, Thia (Teagasc, 2012-12)
      Given the imminent removal of milk quota in 2015, EU dairy farmers will be able to expand production without purchasing milk quota rights for the first time in 30 years. This paper uses Irish National Farm Survey data to simulate the expansion capacity of Irish dairy farms. Specifically, the likelihood of achieving the 50% increase in production target published in the Irish Government’s Food Harvest 2020 Report is explored. Potential milk output is estimated accounting for structural change and the economic viability of production under three price scenarios for 2020. In addition, the number of new entrants that would be required to meet the 50% target is calculated. The results indicate that the 50% output volume growth target set in the Food Harvest report will be difficult to achieve and that future potential milk output depends importantly on the rate of structural change and productivity growth as well as on real milk prices in 2020. A regional analysis reveals that relative to other regions, the south has the greatest expansion capacity. This suggests that quota removal could cause significant regional restructuring of milk production, which is likely to present some challenges to the dairy processing sector.
    • Cease agricultural activity forever? Underestimating the importance of symbolic capital

      Conway, Shane Francis; McDonagh, John; Farrell, Maura; Kinsella, Anne; National University of Ireland, Galway; Geographical Society of Ireland (Elsevier, 11/02/2016)
      Similar to what is occurring on a global scale, Irish agriculture is populated by an older generation of farmers. Consequently, intergenerational family farm transfer is increasingly viewed as crucial to the survival, continuity and future sustainability of the family farm and agricultural sector. A review of existing research highlights how financial incentives that encourage succession and retirement from farming have stimulated little change in the behavioural intentions and attitudes amongst elderly farmers. Drawing on two previously disparate literature (transferring the family firm and transferring the family farm) and applying Pierre Bourdieu's concept of symbolic capital as a theoretical framework, this paper sets aside financial enticements and presents an insightful, nuanced analysis of the human factors that influence the process of transferring the family farm from the perspective of the senior generation. This research employs a multi-method triangulation design, consisting of self-administered questionnaires in conjunction with complimentary Problem-Centred Interviews, to acquire data on the complex psychodynamic and sociodynamic emotions involved in the process. The prominent themes to emerge from the empirical data are farmer's concerns regarding potential loss of identity, status and control upon transferring management and ownership of the family farm and retiring. Many older farmers appear to prioritise the building and maintenance of their personal accumulation of symbolic capital rather than ceasing agricultural activity. The paper concludes by suggesting that future policies and programmes encouraging family farm transfer must take into account the pervasiveness of symbolic capital and work within this structure to develop effective strategies that addresses the emotional well-being of elderly farmers.
    • The challenge of sustainability for Irish Agriculture

      Richards, Karl; Hanrahan, Kevin; Shalloo, Laurence; Ryan, Mary; Finnan, John; Murphy, Pat; Lanigan, Gary (2021-08-04)
      Presentation Overview • Introduction to Johnstown Castle • Ireland’s GHG/NH3 challenge • Scenarios for future emissions (without mitigation) • Mitigation pathways • GHG • NH3 • Water quality challenge • ACP highlights • New Ag. Sustainability Support & Advisory Prog.
    • Complexity and conundrums. Citizens’ evaluations of potentially contentious novel food technologies using a deliberative discourse approach

      Greehy, Grainne M.; McCarthy, Mary; Henchion, Maeve; Dillon, Emma; McCarthy, Sinead N.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Elsevier, 12/07/2013)
      This research considers the processes involved in the formation of attitudes by citizens on potentially contentious novel food technologies (NFTs). Observations of one-to-one deliberative discourses between food scientists and citizens, during which they discussed these technologies, form the basis of this enquiry. This approach enables an exploration of how individuals construct meaning around as well as interpret information about the technologies. Thematic analysis identifies key features that provide the frameworks for citizens’ evaluations. How individuals make sense of these technologies is shaped by their beliefs, values and personal characteristics; their perceptions of power and control over the development and sale of NFT related products; and, the extent to which these products are relevant to their personal lives. Internal negotiations between these influences are evident, and evaluations are based on the relative importance of each influence to the individual. Internal conflicts and tensions are associated with citizens’ evolving evaluative processes, which may in turn present as attitude ambivalence and instability. Many challenges are linked with engaging with the general public about these technologies, as levels of knowledge, understanding and interest vary.
    • Consideration of landscape in the framework documentation during the evolution of the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS) in the Republic of Ireland.

      Whelan, Jackie; Fry, John; green, stuart; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2010)
      This paper looks at the changing concept of landscape during the evolution of REPS. It reviews and groups definitions of landscape and identifies their agri-environmental relevance. Descriptions were devised to amplify each grouping with reference to an Irish context and were used as an analytical framework to categorise each landscape reference in REPS documentation. There was an increase in the use of the term landscape with each version of the scheme and expansion in the range of different landscape categories to which this apparently applied. However there has been no coherence in its use. This paper makes recommendations to improve the framework for the treatment of landscape issues in REPS and its future evolution.
    • Developing a microsimulation model for farm forestry planting decisions

      Ryan, Mary; O’Donoghue, Cathal (International Microsimulation Association, 2018)
      There is increasing pressure in Europe to convert land from agriculture to forestry which would enable the sequestration of additional carbon, thereby mitigating agricultural greenhouse gas production. However, there is little or no information available on the drivers of the land use change decision from agriculture to forestry at individual farm level, which is complicated by the inter-temporal nature of the decision.This paper describes a static microsimulation approach which provides a better understanding of the life-cycle relativity of forestry and agricultural incomes, using Ireland as a casestudy. The microsimulation methodology allows for the generation of actual and counterfactual forest and agricultural income streams and for other attributes of utility such as long-term wealth and leisure, for the first time. These attributes are then modelled using purpose built forest models and farm microdata from a 30 year longitudinal dataset. The results show the importance of financial drivers but additionally show that wealth and leisure are also important factors in this inter-temporal land use change decision. By facilitating the examination of the distribution of farms across the farming population, the use of a static microsimulation approach allows us to make a considerable contribution to the literature in relation to the underlying drivers of farm afforestation behaviour. In the broader context of Climate Smart Agriculture and the Grand Challenges facing the intensification of agricultural production, these findings have implications for policies that seek to optimize natural resource use.
    • Developing farm-level sustainability indicators for Ireland using the Teagasc National Farm Survey

      Ryan, Mary; Hennessy, Thia; Buckley, Cathal; Dillon, Emma; Donnellan, Trevor; Hanrahan, Kevin; Moran, Brian (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2016-12-30)
      In the context of an expanding, export-dependent agri-food sector, indicators of sustainable development and intensification are necessary to measure, assess and verify the comparative advantage afforded by Ireland’s natural pastoral-based food production systems. Such indicators are also necessary to ensure that we produce more food with less adverse impacts on the Irish environment, climate and society. This article outlines the development of farm-level indicators that refect the multifaceted nature of sustainability, which is encompassed in economic, environmental and social indicators. The role of innovation in farm sustainability was also examined. A comparison of indicators across Irish farm systems showed that dairy farms, followed by tillage farms, tended to be the most economically and socially sustainable farm systems. In relation to greenhouse gas emissions in particular, the top-performing dairy farms, in an economic sense, also tended to be the best-performing farms from an environmental sustainability perspective. This trend was also evident in relation to the adoption of innovative practices on farm, which was found to be strongly correlated with economic performance.
    • Developing the EU Farm Accountancy Data Network to derive indicators around the sustainable use of nitrogen and phosphorus at farm level.

      Buckley, Cathal; Wall, David; Moran, Brian; Murphy, Paul N. C.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Springer, 2015-07)
      This study uses a national farm survey which is part of the European Union (EU) Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) to develop environmental sustainability indicators in the use of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) across a range of farm systems in the Republic of Ireland. Farm level micro data were used to calculate all inputs and outputs of N and P that cross the farm gate and to derive balances (kg ha-1) and overall use efficiencies across 827 farms in 2012. The sample is populated weighted to represents 71,480 farms nationally. Results indicated an average N balance of 71.0 kg ha-1 and use efficiency of 36.7% across the nationally representative sample. Nitrogen balances were between two and four times higher across specialist dairy farms compared to livestock rearing and specialist tillage systems. Nitrogen use efficiency was generally lowest across milk producing systems compared to livestock rearing and tillage systems. Phosphorus balance and use efficiency averaged 4.7 kg ha-1 and 79.6% respectively across the sample. Specialist tillage and dairying farms had higher average P balances compared to other livestock based systems. The approach developed in this analysis will form the benchmark for temporal analysis across these indicators for future nutrient balance and efficiency trends and could assist other members of the EU FADN to develop similar nationally representative indicators.