• 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.
    • 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.
    • 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, 22/12/2012)
      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’t See the Wood for the Trees: The Returns to Farm Forestry in Ireland

      Breen, James; 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.
    • Complexity and conundrums. Citizens’ evaluations of potentially contentious novel food technologies using a deliberative discourse approach

      Greehy, Grainne M.; McCarthy, Mary B.; Henchion, Maeve; Dillon, Emma J.; 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 the EU Farm Accountancy Data Network to derive indicators around the sustainable use of nitrogen and phosphorus at farm level.

      Buckley, Cathal; Wall, David P; 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.
    • Development of a Strategic Approach for a Single EU Beef Market: An Evaluation of Changes in the EU Intervention system and Labelling Regulations in Relation to Irish Cattle Prices.

      O'Connell, John; Dunne, Liam; Shanahan, Ultan (Teagasc, 01/01/2003)
      The intervention system for beef in the EU has undergone major changes since its inception. These changes were introduced because of changing circumstances in the EU beef market and because of cost factors and inefficiencies associated with and arising from the intervention system itself. While justified from these perspectives it can be said that from the perspective of beef producers the system has changed from being a mechanism which aimed at and operated to achieve a producer Guide Price which in turn was defined as “……..the price which it is hoped to attain on average on the Community market for all the quantities marketed during a given marketing year” (Com 370, July 1976) to one which has abandoned all efforts at achieving a desirable producer price and which provides at best very short term stabilisation of price at its market level. The aim of this paper is to trace the major changes which have occurred to the intervention system and the concomitant price achievement of beef in general in the EU and especially that of Irish beef. These changes together with other market and policy factors occurring on and since 1996 have combined to give a historically poor price performance for Irish beef which despite the growing importance of direct payments is still of major significance in the incomes and welfare of beef producers.
    • Does the single farm payment affect farmers’ behaviour? A macro and micro analysis

      Howley, Peter; Breen, James; O'Donoghue, Cathal; Hennessy, Thia; European Commission; QLK5-CT-2000-00473; SSPE-CT-2005-021543 (Institute of Agricultural Management, 2012-10)
      Using Ireland as a case study, the overall aim of this paper is to determine if decoupled payments affect farmers’ behaviour. Using a dynamic, multi product, partial equilibrium model of the EU agricultural sector, this paper first compares levels of production that would be expected if decoupled payments had no impact on farmers’ activity with actual observed outcomes. Second this paper compares cereal and cattle farmers’ profitability prior to decoupling with that observed after the introduction of decoupled payments. The analysis presented here would suggest that decoupled payments do still maintain a significant effect on agricultural activity with farmers using this new form of support to partly subsidise unprofitable farm production.
    • An economic analysis of the Irish milk quota exchange scheme.

      Hennessy, Thia; Lapple, Doris; Shalloo, Laurence; Wallace, Michael (Institute of Agricultural Management, 2012-03)
      In Ireland, the trade of milk quota is subject to regional restrictions and a large variation in quota prices between regions has caused some controversy. This article investigates this issue by analysing the functioning of the Irish milk quota exchange market. For this purpose, the economic value of milk quota is estimated using an optimisation framework. The estimated values are then compared to milk quota prices paid at the exchange market. The analysis reveals that quota is undervalued in the border, midlands and west and south-west regions, while milk quota is overvalued in the east and south regions. This implies that farmers in certain regions overpay for additional quota, while other farmers secure good value for their quota investments. The paper concludes by discussing that the identified regional differences are only partly explained by economic and production factors.
    • The effect of decoupling on farming in Ireland: A regional analysis

      Shrestha, S.; Hennessy, Thia; Hynes, Stephen (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2007)
      Data from the Irish National Farm Survey and Census of Agriculture were used to analyse the regional implications of the decoupling of direct payments for farmers in Ireland. A mathematical programming model was used to estimate the regional effects of decoupling while a micro-simulation model was exploited to map the geographic distribution of decoupled payments. The results show that under the historical decoupling scheme, milk quota will shift from less efficient to larger more efficient farms in all regions. Beef cattle numbers are projected to decrease on all farms, with the exception of the Mideast and Southeast regions where numbers are projected to increase. The regional effect of decoupling on sheep farming was marginal with all regions projected to benefit from the policy change. The analysis also shows, using a static micro-simulation model that a shift to a flat rate national calculation of the decoupled payment would result in a significant movement of revenues from the southern regions to the northwestern regions of the country. In particular, large beef and dairy farmers in the southern regions would lose out while small dairy and sheep farmers in the western and northern regions would be most likely to gain.
    • The employment effects of Food Harvest 2020 in Ireland

      Miller, Ana Corina; Matthews, Alan; Donnellan, Trevor; O'Donoghue, Cathal (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2014)
      This paper examines the job creation potential of the four main sectoral growth targets in the Food Harvest 2020 (FH2020) development plan for Irish agriculture, namely the growth targets for milk, beef, sheep and pigs. As well as the direct employment that would be created from an increase in activity in the agriculture sector, there would be a knock-on benefit for the rest of the economy arising out of the linkages between agriculture and other economic sectors, as well as the spending of those additionally employed on goods and services produced in the economy. Commonly this is described as the multiplier impact. Two scenarios are simulated using different assumptions to assess how employment will respond to increased output. The first scenario shows the effects of the four shocks calculated using average or direct employment coefficients. The second scenario calculates the effects using marginal employment coefficients estimated using an econometric model of the output-employment relationship. Our results are sensitive to the choice of coefficients used to simulate the employment potential of the FH2020 targets. Based on our preferred scenario using marginal employment coefficients, we estimate that achieving the FH2020 targets will create at least an additional 16,500 jobs in the Irish economy.
    • Estimation and projection of costs and margins in crop enterprises in the Republic of Ireland

      Thorne, Fiona (Teagasc, 01/01/2007)
      This project reports on the farm level crop economics research conducted in the Rural Economy Research Centre (RERC), Teagasc during the period 2003-2006. The research conducted made current estimates and one year ahead forecasts for margins in each of the major crop enterprises in the Republic of Ireland. The enterprise specific information was based on information from the Teagasc National Farm Survey (NFS), supplemented by projections of price, cost and policy information from a variety of other sources. Yield projections were based on past trends and incorporate estimates of expected variability. In addition, the distribution of profitability amongst the population of crop farms has been examined to gain further insights into the farm level situation and outlook for tillage farms based on the results from the NFS data.
    • Evaluation of supply control options for beef

      Dunne, William; O’Connell, J.J.; Shanahan, Ultan; Drennan, Michael J; Keane, Michael G. (Teagasc, 01/07/2009)
      The incomes of Irish cattle farmers benefited greatly from the reform of the CAP for beef and cereals in 1992 and more recently under Agenda 2000. In both of these reforms the institutional support prices were reduced and direct payments (DPs) were used to compensate farmers for the price reductions