• 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
    • Modelling the impact of the recession on greenhouse gases from agriculture in Ireland

      Gillespie, Patrick R.; Donnellan, Trevor; Hanrahan, Kevin (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2010)
      The effects of the recession of 2009 have been felt across the economy of Ireland. The rapid contraction in economic activity has had its effect on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as well. It is possible to model the recession’s effect on agricultural GHG in the FAPRI-Ireland GHG model using the latest international commodity price projections from Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI). The FAPRI-Ireland GHG model creates projections of future levels of Irish agricultural activity and then uses a mix of national and default emissions factors to convert this activity to estimates of annual GHG emissions from now to 2020. Our model is shocked using post-downturn commodity price projections for a selection of exogenous prices. The changes to these international commodity prices reflect the international market response to the downturn, and as such they have an impact on the level of GHG emitted by the agricultural sector in Ireland. This analysis finds that, despite the depth and breadth of the recession, the impact on GHG emissions from Irish agriculture has been muted. The impact of the shock is to reduce the projected annual emissions from the sector by only 0.14 Mt by 2020. This compares to the 2.97 Mt reduction in annual emissions which the sector would have to achieve if, for example, a reduction target of 20 percent on 2005 levels were to be imposed.
    • Modelling the Marginal Abatement Cost of Mitigating Nitrogen Loss from Agricultural Land

      Chyzheuskaya, Aksana; O'Donoghue, Cathal; Buckley, Cathal; Ryan, Mary; green, stuart; Gibson, Mark (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2012)
      With the deadline identified by the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) approaching in 2015 there is increasing pressure on policymakers to introduce new regulations to achieve water quality targets. Agriculture is one of the contributors of diffuse pollution entering watercourses and will come under pressure to reduce pollutant loads. This paper produces Marginal Abatement Cost (MAC) Curves for eight policy measures that could potentially reduce nitrate leaching from agricultural land on Irish dairy farms. These include: 1) reduction of fertiliser application by 10%; 2) reduction of fertiliser application by 20%; 3) livestock unit reduction to limit organic N to 170 kg ha-1; 4) reduction of livestock units by 20%; 5) change of feed mix to reduce cow dietary N intake; 6) fencing off watercourses to introduce a buffer zone; 7) improved dairy cow genetic merit by introducing higher performing dairy breeds; 8) more efficient slurry application. Results from this study indicate that there will be reductions in farm gross margins across nearly all policy measures. However, MAC and the ranking of MAC vary across individual farms and aggregate MAC does not reflect the heterogeneity of impacts across individual farms. This paper shows that any measure introduced in a “one size fits all command-control” fashion will not yield efficient economic results.
    • Muintir na Tire Seeks Funding for Rural Sociology in 1960s Ireland

      Murray, Peter; Feeney, Maria (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland; NIRSA, 2011)
      Muintir na Tire’s role in the emergence of the discipline of Sociology in Ireland is usually acknowledged with reference to the Limerick Rural Survey (1958-64) that it initiated, part-funded and published. In the first half of the 1960s the movement also put proposals to the Irish government and sought US foundation grants for a centre or institute that would operate in the field of rural sociology and form part of Muintir na Tire’s organisational structure. Although Taoiseach Sean Lemass was positively disposed towards these initatives, opposition from the Departments of Agriculture, Education and Finance prevailed against them and Muintir na Tire was ultimately to find itself completely excluded from participation in the state-resourced institutional arrangements for carrying out social/sociological research in Ireland.
    • Occupational fatalities amongst farm workers in Ireland, 1992 – 2008

      Meredith, David; McNamara, John G.; Grant, Jim (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2010)
      Background: Whilst occupational fatalities amongst farm workers have been studied internationally little research has been published concerning farm fatalities or the demography farm fatalities in Ireland. Aims 1) To establish the incidence of farm fatalities during the 1992 – 2009 period in Ireland, 2) to explore the changing age profile of those experiencing fatal injuries on farms in Ireland. Methods: An official dataset containing the details of every fatal farm accident during the 1992 – 2009 period is used to evaluate changes in the number and age profile of farm fatalities in Ireland. Results: There were 304 deaths on farms during the 1992 – 2009 period in Ireland. The average number of annual fatalities is declining having fallen by 16% from 18 to 16 per year during this time. The fatality rate has however increased from 15 to 22 per 100,000 workers. This has been driven by a reduction in the number of workers employed on farms and, it is hypothesised, rapid ageing of the farm workforce. The demographic profile of those killed on farms changed significantly over the period. There are fewer deaths amongst younger cohorts. Older farmers, those over 55 years of age, now account for the vast majority of all fatal accidents. Conclusion: These findings highlight the changing nature of fatal farm incidents over the 1993 – 2009 period in Ireland. The increasing number of fatalities amongst older farmers suggests that Ireland’s Farm Safety Partnership needs to place greater emphasis of raising awareness amongst older farmers of fatality risks.
    • PastureBase Ireland: A grassland decision support system and national database

      Hanrahan, Liam; Geoghegan, Anne; O'Donovan, Michael; Griffith, Vincent; Ruelle, Elodie; Wallace, Michael; Shalloo, Laurence (Elsevier BV, 2017-04-15)
      PastureBase Ireland (PBI) is a web-based grassland management application incorporating a dual function of grassland decision support and a centralized national database to collate commercial farm grassland data. This database facilitates the collection and storage of vast quantities of grassland data from grassland farmers. The database spans across ruminant grassland enterprises – dairy, beef and sheep. To help farmers determine appropriate actions around grassland management, we have developed this data informed decision support tool to function at the paddock level. Individual farmers enter data through the completion of regular pasture cover estimations across the farm, allowing the performance of individual paddocks to be evaluated within and across years. To evaluate the PBI system, we compared actual pasture cut experimental data (Etesia cuts) to PBI calculated outputs. We examined three comparisons, comparing PBI outputs to actual pasture cut data, for individual DM yields at defoliation (Comparison 1), for cumulative annual DM yields including silage data (Comparison 2) and, for cumulative annual DM yields excluding silage data (Comparison 3). We found an acceptable accuracy between PBI outputs and pasture cut data when statistically analyzed using relative prediction error and concordance correlation coefficients for the measurement of total annual DM yield (Comparison 2), with a relative prediction error of 15.4% and a concordance correlation coefficient of 0.85. We demonstrated an application of the PBI system through analysis of commercial farm data across two years (2014–2015) for 75 commercial farms who actively use the system. The analysis showed there was a significant increase in DM yield from 2014 to 2015. The results indicated a greater variation in pasture growth across paddocks within farms than across farms.
    • Phosphorus management on Irish dairy farms post controls introduced under the EU Nitrates Directive

      Buckley, Cathal; Wall, David; Moran, Brian; O'Neill, Stephen; Murphy, Paul N. C.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Elsevier, 08/11/2015)
      The Republic of Ireland was one of a minority of EU member states to include direct controls on chemical phosphorus (P) fertilisers in its EU Nitrates Directive National Action Plan, first introduced in 2006. This study estimates farm gate phosphorus balances and use efficiencies across 150 specialist dairy farms over the seven year period since these controls were introduced (2006–2012) using nationally representative data. Results indicate that P balances declined by 50% over the study period from 11.9 in 2006 to 6.0 kg ha− 1 in 2012. This decline was driven by a reduction in chemical fertiliser imports of 6.5 kg ha− 1. This is equivalent to a reduction of 281 kg of P and represents a cost saving of €812 per annum across the average farm. Phosphorus use efficiency also improved over the period from 60% in 2006 to 78% in 2012, peaking in 2011 at 88.3%. This was achieved while increasing milk solids output per hectare and per cow. Results of a random effects panel data model indicated that P balance and use efficiency are significantly influenced by factors such as fertiliser prices, stocking rates, land use potential, use of milk recording technology, contact with extension services and rainfall patterns.
    • The physical, economic and policy drivers of land conversion to forestry in Ireland

      Upton, Vincent; O'Donoghue, Cathal; Ryan, Mary; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Elsevier, 27/11/2013)
      Land use change is fundamentally a product of the interaction of physical land characteristics, economic considerations and agricultural and environmental policies. Researchers are increasingly combining physical and socio-economic spatial data to investigate the drivers of land-use change in relation to policy and economic developments. Focusing on Ireland, this study develops a panel data set of annual afforestation over 2811 small-area boundaries between 1993 and 2007 from vector and raster data sources. Soil type and other physical characteristics are combined with the net returns of converting agricultural land to forestry, based on the micro-simulation of individual farm incomes, to investigate land conversion. A spatial econometric approach is adopted to model the data and a range of physical, economic and policy factors are identified as having a significant effect on afforestation rates. In addition to the financial returns, the availability and quality of land and the implementation of environmental protection policies are identified as important factors in land conversion. The implications of these factors for the goal of forest expansion are discussed in relation to conflicting current and future land use policies.
    • Policy and Economic Change in the Agri-Food Sector in Ireland

      O'Donoghue, Cathal; Hennessy, Thia (The Economic and Social Review, 2015-06-22)
      In the agri-food sector, recent policy reforms such as the milk quota abolition and CAP reform as well as robust export growth have increased the sector’s visibility in public debate. In this paper we assess the economic characteristics of the sector and consider prospects for expansion. We also assess challenges to expansion, including land access, elderly age profile, the uptake of technologies, the financial strength of this sector, increasing price volatility and environmental constraints. The paper also highlights income challenges in terms of low viability rates that affect particularly the drystock sectors and the severe impact that the economic downturn has had on off-farm income. Also as the sector is highly influenced by policy, both in terms of regulation and in terms of impact of agricultural subsidies on total income levels, we consider the impact of recent CAP reforms.
    • Policy drivers of farm succession and inheritance

      Leonard, Brian; Kinsella, Anne; O'Donoghue, Cathal; Farrell, Maura; Mahon, Marie; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Royal Dublin Society (Elsevier, 18/11/2016)
      Farm succession and inheritance is increasingly considered a complex phenomenon which not only affects core dimensions of farm family life but also the agricultural sector more widely. Intergenerational farm transfer in particular is increasingly viewed as fundamental to the sustainability and development of global agriculture. In the majority of EU countries, the average age of farmers is increasing, while the number of farmers under 40 years of age is decreasing. There is growing concern that this demographic trend may have negative impacts on the agricultural industry because it is younger and not older farmers who are associated with more efficient and effective production practices. The question of what motivates decisions to transfer farms is a complex one, and research to date has not apparently enlightened agricultural policy to the extent that current trends towards an ageing farm population are being managed. This research aims to investigate economic and financial aspects of the policy drivers of farm succession and inheritance in Ireland to understand what it is about the policy environment that is failing to stimulate higher levels of farm transfer. It draws on the Teagasc National Farm Survey data which provides Irish data to the Farm Accountancy Data Network in the European Commission. A hypothetical microsimulation model is used to investigate economic factors of farm transfers, with scenarios created to test these factors and their impacts on the transfer process. The Net Present Value (NPV) of income streams for farmers and their successors are calculated to assess which scenarios have the highest/lowest financial effects. The findings illustrate a range of possible scenarios for farm succession/inheritance, with some results indicating that under current policy retaining a farm until death may be more economically beneficial to a farmer than transferring land before death.
    • POLICY options

      Dunne, William; O'Connell, John J.; Shanahan, Ultan (Teagasc, 01/09/2009)
      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 animal-based direct payments (DPs) were used to compensate farmers for the anticipated market price reductions.
    • The Potential Economic Returns of Converting Agricultural Land to Forestry: An Analysis of System and Soil Effects from 1995 to 2009

      Upton, Vincent; Ryan, Mary; Farrelly, Niall; O'Donoghue, Cathal; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Society of Irish Foresters, 05/07/2013)
      Private land owners have been responsible for the majority of annual afforestation in Ireland since the mid1990s, but planting rates have generally been declining since 2002. Although the decision to plant may be driven by a number of factors, the profitability of forestry as a landuse option should be an important driver and offer some insight into trends in afforestation rates. As farmers undertake most afforestation in Ireland it is important to account for the opportunity cost of lost agricultural income when analysing the financial outcome of planting. In addition, soil quality plays an essential role in dictating the productivity and profitability of both agriculture and forestry. This study examines the effects of soil quality and superseded agricultural system on the potential profitability of afforestation by farmers between 1995 and 2009. Data from the National Farm Survey were employed to identify the annual gross margins for six agricultural systems on six soil types that differ in terms of quality. The measures of soil quality were translated into potential yield classes for forestry using an existing productivity model and Teagasc’s Forest Investment and Valuation Estimator was employed to calculate the net present value of afforestation for each of the systems and soil types. The results demonstrate how the competitiveness of forestry as a landuse option is influenced by soil quality and superseded enterprise and how forestry has become more competitive with agricultural enterprises over the period of analysis.
    • The Potential of an Enhanced Cooperation Measure in the EAFRD (2014-2020): the case of Ireland

      Macken-Walsh, Aine; Brosnan, Karen; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2012-05)
      The current Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on support for Rural Development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) includes Article (36) Cooperation that is potentially instrumental for realising the objectives of FOOD HARVEST 20204. The purpose of this report is to assess the scope and potential of Article 36 in the context of Irish agriculture and its findings have four key aspects. First, the main areas of confluence between Article 36 and primary policy objectives as set out in Food Harvest 2020 are identified. Second, a range of cooperation categories and types relevant to Article 36, many of which are operational in Ireland, are profiled. Third, drawing from case-studies of these co-operation types5, the operational characteristics of each type are presented, focusing on compatibility with Article 36. Possible supports that would encourage and assist the formation and operation of the cooperation types on a broad scale into the future, and also any possible constraints that would prevent success, are indicated. Fourth, a brief discussion of some key implementation considerations arising from the analysis overall is presented.
    • The Potential of Farm Partnerships to Facilitate Farm Succession and Inheritance

      Leonard, Brian; Mahon, Marie; Kinsella, Anne; O'Donoghue, Cathal; Farrell, Maura; Curran, Thomas P; Hennessy, Thia; Royal Dublin Society; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Institute of Agricultural Management, 01/05/2017)
      The rising average age of farmers and low level of young farmer entry is viewed as problematic on a global scale and farm partnerships are presented as a possible means by which farm succession and inheritance could take place in a timely manner. Using the example of Ireland, this research investigates a recent proposal by government to introduce a tax relief as an incentive for farmers to part take in farm partnerships. In this discussion, a hypothetical microsimulation model is used to investigate the possible outcomes of such a tax relief, with scenarios created to examine how this would materialise. It draws on the Teagasc National Farm Survey data which provides Irish data to the Farm Accountancy Data Network in the European Commission. The findings illustrate that even with a tax relief, cattle rearing farms would struggle to reap any economic benefit from entering a farm partnership, while their dairy counterparts would receive more value from tax reliefs. Results also indicate that farm viability will play a large role in whether or not collaborative farming is viewed as an option for farmers.
    • The potential role of environmental economics in Teagasc - A scoping exercise 2006

      Hynes, Stephen (Teagasc, 30/11/2006)
      Environmental economics is a new area within the Teagasc vision programme. It is a distinct branch of economics that acknowledges the value of both the environment and economic activity and makes choices based on those values. The goal is to balance the economic activity and the environmental impacts by taking into account all the costs and benefits. The theories are designed to take into account pollution and natural resource depletion, which the current model of market systems fails to do. This (failure) needs to be addressed by correcting prices so they take into account "external" costs. The aim of this project was to look broadly at theses issues in relation to agriculture and natural resource usage in Ireland. In particular it focused on the role that this branch of economics may play in the research agenda of Teagasc in the future. The project was very short in duration (7 months) and was completed on-time (30th November 2006).
    • Predicted costs and benefits of eradicating BVDV from Ireland

      Stott, Alistair W; Humphry, Roger W; Gunn, George J; Higgins, Isabella; Hennessy, Thia; O'Flaherty, Joe; Graham, David A. (Biomed Central, 02/07/2012)
      Bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) causes an economically important endemic disease (BVD) of cattle in Ireland and worldwide. Systematic eradication by detection and removal of infectious (BVDV carrier) cattle has been successful in several regions. We therefore assessed the benefits (disease losses avoided) and costs (testing and culling regime) of a potential eradication programme in Ireland. Published bio-economic models of BVDV spread in beef suckler herds and dairy herds were adapted to estimate potential benefits of eradication in Ireland. A simple model of BVDV spread in beef finisher herds was devised to estimate the benefits of eradication in this sector. A six year eradication programme consisting of 5 inter-related virological and serological testing programmes is outlined and costed. We found that the annualised benefits of BVDV eradication in Ireland exceeded the costs by a factor of 5 in the beef suckler sector and a factor of 14 in the dairy sector. Corresponding payback periods were 1.2 and 0.5 years respectively. These results highlight the significant economic impact of BVDV on the Irish cattle industry and suggest a clear economic benefit to eradication using the proposed approach. This type of cost-benefit analysis is considered an essential prerequisite prior to undertaking an eradication campaign of this magnitude.