• Factors affecting the level of farm indebtedness: the role of farming attitudes

      Howley, Peter; Dillon, Emma (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2012)
      Using a nationally representative survey of farm operators in Ireland, this paper aims to provide a framework for better understanding the characteristics that influence the degree of indebtedness on farm businesses. This paper derives explanatory variables (based on a factor analysis of respondents mean ratings of 13 multiple value items) representing 3 different farming attitudes. An ordered logit model is then formulated to examine the effect of farming attitudes as well as personal characteristics and farm structural variables on the degree of indebtedness. Personal characteristics of the farmer such as age and education as well as farm structural variables such as farm size and farm system were all found to have a statistically significant impact. The presence of decoupled farm payments was also found to affect the degree of indebtedness. The study identified two distinct farming attitudes which were found to have important but opposite effects. These were attitudes strongly orientated to business related objectives which was positively associated with having farming debts and secondly positive attitudes relating to the benefits of farm relative to non-farm work which was negatively associated with the degree of indebtedness. Past research has focused on the effect of socio-demographic characteristics and farm structural variables in examining differences in farm indebtedness. This study extends this literature by specifically examining the role of farming attitudes. Obtaining a deeper understanding of the factors that affect the level of farming debt will be important as the degree of indebtedness has been found to affect farmers’ management decisions. Furthermore, outside of explaining farm credit use, farming attitudes and motivations may have an important impact on farmers’ behaviour in relation to a variety of farm activities.
    • Factors associated with profitability in pasture-based systems of milk production

      Hanrahan, Liam; McHugh, Noirin; Hennessy, Thia; Moran, Brian; Kearney, R.; Wallace, Michael; Shalloo, Laurence (Elsevier, 2018-03-07)
      The global dairy industry needs to reappraise the systems of milk production that are operated at farm level with specific focus on enhancing technical efficiency and competitiveness of the sector. The objective of this study was to quantify the factors associated with costs of production, profitability, and pasture use, and the effects of pasture use on financial performance of dairy farms using an internationally recognized representative database over an 8-yr period (2008 to 2015) on pasture-based systems. To examine the associated effects of several farm system and management variables on specific performance measures, a series of multiple regression models were developed. Factors evaluated included pasture use [kg of dry matter/ha and stocking rate (livestock units/ha)], grazing season length, breeding season length, milk recording, herd size, dairy farm size (ha), farmer age, discussion group membership, proportion of purchased feed, protein %, fat %, kg of milk fat and protein per cow, kg of milk fat and protein per hectare, and capital investment in machinery, livestock, and buildings. Multiple regression analysis demonstrated costs of production per hectare differed by year, geographical location, soil type, level of pasture use, proportion of purchased feed, protein %, kg of fat and protein per cow, dairy farm size, breeding season length, and capital investment in machinery, livestock, and buildings per cow. The results of the analysis revealed that farm net profit per hectare was associated with pasture use per hectare, year, location, soil type, grazing season length, proportion of purchased feed, protein %, kg of fat and protein per cow, dairy farm size, and capital investment in machinery and buildings per cow. Pasture use per hectare was associated with year, location, soil type, stocking rate, dairy farm size, fat %, protein %, kg of fat and protein per cow, farmer age, capital investment in machinery and buildings per cow, breeding season length, and discussion group membership. On average, over the 8-yr period, each additional tonne of pasture dry matter used increased gross profit by €278 and net profit by €173 on dairy farms. Conversely, a 10% increase in the proportion of purchased feed in the diet resulted in a reduction in net profit per hectare by €97 and net profit by €207 per tonne of fat and protein. Results from this study, albeit in a quota limited environment, have demonstrated that the profitability of pasture-based dairy systems is significantly associated with the proportion of pasture used at the farm level, being cognizant of the levels of purchased feed.
    • Farm-gate N and P balances and use efficiencies across specialist dairy farms in the Republic Ireland

      Buckley, Cathal; Murphy, Paul N. C.; Wall, David (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2013)
      This study establishes farm gate N and P balances and use efficiencies based on the average of 2 years of Teagasc National Farm Survey data in 2009 and 2010. The weighted average farm gate N surplus for this nationally representative sample of specialist dairy farms was 143.4 kg N ha-1. Average farm gate nitrogen use efficiency was 23.2%. For dairy farms operating under an EU Nitrates Derogation, the average N surplus was higher at 181.8 kg N ha-1 and averageN use efficiency was slightly lower at 22.2%. The total average farm gate P balance was 4.1 kg ha-1 in surplus, and P use efficiency averaged 83.9%. P balance ranged from -7.3 to 23.0 kg ha-1. A total of 27% had a negative P balance. The average P surplus for farms with a Nitrates Derogation was below the average of all farms at 3.5 kg P ha-1 and average P use efficiency for these Derogation farms was above the average of all farms at 90%.
    • Functional land management: A framework for managing soil-based ecosystem services for the sustainable intensification of agriculture

      Schulte, Rogier P.; Creamer, Rachel; Donnellan, Trevor; Farrelly, Niall; Fealy, Reamonn; O’Donoghue, Cathal; O’hUallachain, Daire (Elsevier, 2013-11-20)
      Sustainable food production has re-emerged at the top of the global policy agenda, driven by two challenges: (1) the challenge to produce enough food to feed a growing world population and (2) the challenge to make more efficient and prudent use of the world's natural resources. These challenges have led to a societal expectation that the agricultural sector increase productivity, and at the same time provide environmental ‘ecosystem services’ such as the provision of clean water, air, habitats for biodiversity, recycling of nutrients and mitigation against climate change. Whilst the degree to which agriculture can provide individual ecosystem services has been well researched, it is unclear how and to what extent agriculture can meet all expectations relating to environmental sustainability simultaneously, whilst increasing the quantity of food outputs. In this paper, we present a conceptual framework for the quantification of the ‘supply of’ and ‘demand for’ agricultural, soil-based ecosystem services or ‘soil functions’. We use Irish agriculture as a case-study for this framework, using proxy-indicators to determine the demand for individual soil functions, as set by agri-environmental policies, as well as the supply of soil functions, as defined by land use and soil type. We subsequently discuss how this functionality of soils can be managed or incentivised through policy measures, with a view to minimising the divergence between agronomic policies designed to promote increased agricultural production and environmental policy objectives. Finally, we discuss the applicability of this conceptual framework to agriculture and agri-environmental policies at EU level, and the implications for policy makers.
    • Gender, Power and Property: “In my own right”

      Byrne, Anne; Duvvury, Nata; Macken-Walsh, Aine; Watson, Tanya; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2013-11)
      Women on farms in Ireland are a subject of feminist analysis for five decades. Salient themes are the constraints of patriarchal agriculture (O'Hara 1997; Shortall, 2004), the invisibility of women's farm work (Viney 1968; O’Hara 1998), gender inequalities in ownership of farm assets (Watson et al. 2009) and increasing professionalisation of farmwomen outside of agriculture (Kelly and Shortall 2002; Hanrahan 2007). Most women enter farming through marriage and family ties. Land ownership is identified by Shortall (2004) as the critical factor underpinning male domination of the occupational category ‘farmer’ and considerable power differentials between men and women in family farming. This is an area that requires further investigation. Our analysis, framed by theoretical models of feminisation and empowerment, explores cases where male farm property ownership in Ireland is disrupted in conventional and non-conventional agricultural settings. Do these cases provide evidence of new opportunities for women to become farm property owners, and in what contexts? What consequences do these opportunities have for farmwomen’s empowerment and agency? How does women’s farm property ownership disturb rural gender relations in the context of the family farm?
    • The Geographical Spread and the Economic Impact of Food Harvest 2020 – A Regional Perspective.

      Carey, Mary; O'Donoghue, Cathal (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2013)
      Recently the agri-food sector has received increased attention in Ireland. The agri-food sector has been the traditional backbone of Irish exports, and despite the economic downturn Irish exports in this sector grew by an impressive 12 percent in 2011 (CSO 2012). The agri-food sector is regarded as Ireland’s largest indigenous industry, the potential of the sector in terms of exports, and its heavy dependence on domestic inputs are the key reasons for the increased attention. The real economic value of the agri-food sector in Ireland is analysed at national, and most importantly for this paper, at regional level. This paper examines the impact of the agri-food sector in addressing regional disparities in Ireland. The estimation of the true value of the agri-food sector is evaluated at regional level by analysing Gross Value Added, employment levels and productivity rates for the sector expressed in percentage of regional values. Gross-Value-Added in absolute terms and as a percentage of regional Gross-Value- Added provides us with a more thorough understanding of the regional importance of certain industries within the sector. In terms of employment, the rural context of the agri-food sector is discussed, including the geographical spread of the sector. A comparison of regional productivity levels is analysed at national and regional level. In addition, this paper geographically distributes the change in output and employment if the four main sector specific Food Harvest 2020 targets are achieved. As a preliminary contour of the agri-food sector in Ireland this research will be useful to all the key players in the sector.
    • Historical Grassland Turboveg Database Project. 2067 Relevés recorded by Dr Austin O’ Sullivan 1962 – 1982

      Bourke, David; Hochstrasser, Tamara; Nolan, Stephen; Schulte, Rogier P.; National Parks and Wildlife Service (Teagasc, 01/09/2007)
      The more common grassland types occupy about 70% of the Irish landscape (O’Sullivan, 1982), but information on these vegetation types is rare. Generally, Irish grasslands are distinguished based on the intensity of their management (improved or semi-natural grasslands), and the drainage conditions and acidity of the soil (dry or wet, calcareous or acidic grassland types) (Fossitt, 2000). However, little is known about their floristic composition and the changes in floristic composition over time. The current knowledge on grassland vegetation is mostly based on a survey of Irish grasslands by Dr. Austin O’Sullivan completed in the 1960’s and 1970’s (O’Sullivan, 1982). In this survey O’Sullivan identified Irish grassland types in accordance with the classification of continental European grasslands based on the principles of the School of Phytosociology. O’Sullivan distinguished five main grassland types introducing agricultural criteria as well as floristic criteria into grassland classification (O’Sullivan, 1982). In 1978, O’Sullivan made an attempt at mapping Ireland’s vegetation types including the five grassland types distinguished in his later publication as well as two types of peatland vegetation (Figures 1 and 2). This map was completed using 1960’s soils maps (National Soil Survey, Teagasc, Johnstown Castle) and a subsample of the dataset on the composition of Irish grasslands. Phytosociological classification of vegetation is based on the full floristic composition of the vegetation as determined by assessing the abundance and spatial structure of the plant species in a given area. The actual area of the survey (or relevé) is determined according to strict criteria, which include how representative the sample area is for the wider vegetation (i.e. how many of the species found in the wider area are also present in the survey area).
    • How to Strengthen Innovation Support Services in Agriculture with Regard to Multi-Stakeholder Approaches

      Faure, Guy; Knierim, Andrea; Koutsouris, Alex; Ndah, Hycenth Tim; Audouin, Sarah; Zarokosta, Elena; Wielinga, Eelke; Triomphe, Bernard; Mathé, Syndhia; Temple, Ludovic; et al. (CAIRN, 2019)
      The new agricultural EU policy aims at strengthening actors’ capacities for innovation by taking into account the complexity of innovation processes. This paper aims to characterise the key innovation support services (ISS) which are needed to support actors to innovate. In the EU AgriSpin project, we analysed 57 case studies describing innovation processes. We used a common grid to characterize ISS. Our results show that ISS depends on the phase of the innovation. During the initial phases, there is a need for innovative support services (e.g. network building, support to innovator). In the latter phases, there is a need for more conventional services (e.g. training, credit) both at farm level, value chain level and territory level. Brokering functions and new services are key in supporting actors to innovate by facilitating interactions for co-production of knowledge, co-design of technologies and, identification of new institutional arrangements.
    • Impact analysis of the CAP reform on main agricultural commodities

      Donnellan, Trevor; Hanrahan, Kevin; European Commission; 150267-2005-FIED-NL (Teagasc, 15/03/2007)
      This study has been carried out for the European Commission's Joint Research Centre to analyze agricultural policies at Member State, EU15 and EU25 levels as well as for Bulgaria and Romania. The modelling tool allows for projections and policy analysis (up to a 10 year horizon) for the enlarged EU.
    • The impact of feed resource costs on the relative competitiveness of beef with other meats

      Dunne, William; Shanahan, Ultan; O'Connell, John J. (Teagasc, 01/11/2008)
      These reforms represented a major turning point in fundamental structure of EU agricultural policy. This, at the time of implementation, created much uncertainty at both institutional and farm level in relation to future feed resource costs, cattle and beef prices and related market outlooks. However, as this report shows, the reality for Irish cattle farmers was rather different. As a result much of the research effort during the lifespan of the project was diverted to explaining the causes of the unforeseen outcomes together with the implications of policy decisions and related market developments.
    • The impact of flooding disruption on the spatial distribution of commuter's income

      Kilgarriff, Paul; McDermott, Thomas K.J.; Vega, Amaya; Morrissey, Karyn; O'Donoghue, Cathal; Environmental Protection Agency; 2015-CCRP-DS.10 (Taylor & Francis, 11/08/2018)
      Flooding already imposes substantial costs to the economy. Costs are expected to rise in future, both as a result of changing weather patterns due to climate change, but also because of changes in exposure to flood risk resulting from socio-economic trends such as economic growth and urbanisation. Existing cost estimates tend to focus on direct damages, excluding potentially important indirect effects such as disruptions to transport and other essential services. This paper estimates the costs to commuters as a result of travel disruptions caused by a flooding event. Using Galway, Ireland as a case study, the commuting travel times under the status quo and during the period of the floods and estimated additional costs imposed, are simulated for every commuter. Results show those already facing large commuting costs are burdened with extra costs with those in rural areas particularly vulnerable. In areas badly affected, extra costs amount to 39% of earnings (during the period of disruption), while those on lower incomes suffer proportionately greater losses. Commuting is found to have a regressive impact on the income distribution, increasing the Gini coefficient from 0.32 to 0.38.
    • Implementation of the EU Nitrates Directive in the Republic of Ireland — A view from the farm

      Buckley, Cathal; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Elsevier, 2012-06)
      This paper employs Q methodology to investigate farmer opinions of the operation of the EU Nitrates Directive regulations after the first 4 year National Action Programme phase and explores the level of acceptance and refutation of measures from the view of farmers own knowledge and experience of land stewardship. Results indicate 4 main opinion groups. A “Constrained Productionists”group remain unconvinced about the appropriateness of certain measures from a farm management, environmental and water quality perspective. A second group “Concerned Practitioners” share some of these concerned but are generally more positive regarding other farm management and environmental benefits accruing from the regulations. A third group, “Benefit Accepters”, indicated quite an environmentalist position and are generally very positive towards regulation implementation and associated environmental and farm management benefits. The final group “Regulation Unaffected” have some concerns but are mostly unaffected by the regulations. Results suggest there is a growing acceptance among some farmers of environmental benefits accruing from the regulation but scepticism remains around the validity of certain measures, especially, in the area of temporal farm practices.
    • The importance of accounting for unobserved heterogeneity, state-dependence and differences in residual variances across groups: An application to Irish Farmers land market participation decisions

      O'Neill, Stephen; Hanrahan, Kevin (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2010)
      Land is an essential input into agricultural production. A grwoing literature is concerned with the factors influencing farmers’ land market participation decisions in developing countries, with developed countries largely ignored. Current best-practise in the land market participation literature is exemplified by Holden et al. (2007) who use a dynamic model which allows for state-dependence and unobserved heterogeneity. Much of the literature fails to adequately deal with these features of land market decisions. In addition, a single model is used to represent all farm types. In this paper, we firstly consider the factors influencing land market participation decisions in a developing country, Ireland, while allowing for state-dependence, unobserved heterogeneity and differences across farm tyes. We compare these results to those that are obtained while ignoring state-dependence, unobserved heterogeneity and differences between farm types. Our results suggest that some caution may be warranted when these aspects are ignored when if fact they are present.
    • Improving Public Access to the Irish Countryside for Walking – Investigation of Supply and Demand Side Factors

      Buckley, Cathal; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (01/07/2009)
      Increased interest and demand for land based recreational amenities has seen the rise of conflict between landowners and recreationalists (particularly walkers) in the Republic of Ireland. A right of access to the countryside for recreation prevalent across other developed nations does not apply. Stakeholders have tabled various proposals to address this situation ranging from a right to roam across the countryside to a compensation payment to landowners for recreational access. Whilst policy makers are aware of the economic opportunities associated with open-air outdoor recreation activities, rational public decision making requires that economic benefits and costs should be clearly identified and valued to justify any policy intervention. To-date no such evaluation has been undertaken. This thesis explores supply and demand side factors that influence public access provision to the Irish countryside for recreational walking. Firstly, contingent valuation was used to measure the willingness to pay of consumers for improved public access and trail improvements on commonage farmland based on two case study sites in the Connemara region. Secondly, a national representative survey was used to explore the attitudes of landowners across the Republic of Ireland to the wider provision of public access for recreational walking on farmland, including the potential opportunity costs to agriculture as well as the level of compensation demanded by landowners. This thesis argues that based on derived welfare estimates there is significant scope for policy interventions to improve public access to the countryside in the Republic of Ireland.
    • The Irish Rural Environmental Protection Scheme and lack of Strategic Environmental Assessment

      Whelan, Jackie; Fry, John (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2010)
      Proposals specifically aimed at delivering environmental benefits are often exempt from assessment, despite evidence that they can be poorly thought-through and sometimes counterproductive. This is doubly true of agri-environmental schemes where local farm-scale actions are expected to generate large-area cumulative effects on soil and water quality, biodiversity or landscape. There is evidence that the benefits of such schemes have often been assumed rather than planned for, thus necessitating ex-post assessment to justify their continuance.
    • Land Market Review and Outlook 2017

      Myler, Áine; McAuley, Edward; Donnellan, Trevor; Hanrahan, Kevin; Loughrey, Jason (Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland / Teagasc, 2017)
      This report brings together the respective expertise of both organisations (Teagasc and SCSI) to increase the range and quality of the data that is available on the agricultural land market in Ireland.
    • Landscape aesthetics: Assessing the general publics’ rural landscape preferences

      Howley, Peter (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2011)
      The central aim of this study was to gain greater insights into the factors that affect individuals’ preferences for a variety of landscape settings. To achieve this aim, this paper derived dependent variables (based on a factor analysis of respondents mean ratings of 47 landscape images) representing 5 different landscape categories. These variables were then utilized in separate OLS regression models to examine the effect of personal characteristics, residential location and environmental value orientations on landscape preferences. First in terms of visual amenity the results suggest that the general public have the strongest preference for landscapes with water related features as its dominant attribute which was followed by cultural landscapes. Second the results also demonstrate how there is significant heterogeneity in landscape preferences as both personal characteristics and environmental value orientations were found to strongly influence preferences for all the landscape types examined. Moreover the effect of these variables often differed significantly across the various landscape groupings. In terms of land use policy, given the diversity of preferences a one size fits all approach will not meet the general publics’ needs and desires.
    • Methodological Framework for Modelling the Impact of the Agriculture to Forestry Land Use Change at the Farm Level

      O'Donoghue, Cathal; Ryan, Mary; Environmental Protection Agency (2020-10-13)
      There is a growing literature on the use of microsimulation models for agriculture, forestry and land use change (Richardson et al., 2014). Much of this literature addresses issues related to productivity and incomes (O’Donoghue, 2014), however consistent with an increasing global focus on sustainability, there is also increasing interest in combining analyses of both economic and environmental impacts (Ramilan et al., 2011). A sub-field of agricultural microsimulation addresses issues associated with land-use change from agriculture to forestry and vice versa (Ryan and O’Donoghue, 2019; Phimmavong & Keenan, 2020) and vice versa. The former transition is particularly important as it helps to mitigate significant carbon emissions from agriculture. This paper describes the development of a model that incorporates both economic and environmental dimensions of the land-use change from agriculture to forestry.
    • Modelling the Effect of Policy Reform on Structural Change in Irish Farming

      Hennessy, Thia (Teagasc, 01/07/2007)
      The Mid Term Review (MTR) of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has allowed for the decoupling of all direct payments from production from 2005 onwards; until then, most direct payments were coupled to production, requiring farmers to produce specific products in order to claim support. After decoupling, farmers will receive a payment regardless of production as long as their farm land is maintained in accordance with good agricultural practices. Direct payments to farmers have been an integral part of the CAP since the 1992 Mac Sharry reforms. Throughout the 1990s, market prices for farm produce have declined generally in line with policy while costs of production have continued to increase. Meanwhile, direct payments increased in value, increasing farmers’ reliance on this source of income. Furthermore, farmers adapted farming practices to maximise their receipt of direct payments, leading to the culture of ‘farming the subsidy’. By 1997, on cattle and tillage farms in Ireland 100 per cent of family farm income was derived from direct payments, meaning that on average the market-based revenue was insufficient to cover total costs.
    • Modelling the Gross Cost of Transporting Pig Slurry to Tillage Spread Lands in a Post Transition Arrangement within the Nitrates Directive.

      Fealy, Reamonn; O'Donoghue, Cathal; Hanrahan, Kevin; Martin, Michael; Schulte, Rogier P. (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2012)
      The context of this paper is in the phasing out of the transitional arrangement under the Nitrates Directive. As there is relatively little grassland capable of taking significant amounts of pig slurry available in the vicinity of the main pig production areas, in this paper we attempt to quantify the cost of transporting this slurry to the nearest available tillage land. The approach taken was to examine the geographic structure underlying the pig sector in Ireland using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology. The study highlighted the differential cost with, amounting to 10% of gross margin on average and as high in major pig producing areas as 21.5% in Longford and 16.6% in Cavan, while lower at 7-9% in South Tipperary and Cork. Thus while the problem is significant, the impact is not constant across the country, highlighting the value of a spatial analytical approach. Future work should assess the existing cost of spreading manure in order to be able to ascertain the net cost of spreading on tillage lands. The robustness of the results also need to be tested to assess the implications of changes in the prices of fossil fuels and fertilisers, both in terms of the cost function and in terms of the cost of substitutable mineral fertiliser