• 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.
    • Projections of forestry as a competitor with mainstream agricultural enterprises and the consequent environmental implications

      Donnellan, Trevor (Teagasc, 01/01/2007)
      Through its relationship with the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI), staff at the Rural Economy Research Centre (RERC) have developed a system of econometric models of the Irish Agriculture sector. The output from these models includes, amongst other things, projections of agricultural activity levels under different policy options. From an environmental perspective, information on future levels of agricultural activity are important since they can facilitate the calculation of aggregate national levels of emissions of various pollutants from agriculture. The project has also produced a model which makes projections of forestry planting.
    • Public access for walking in the Irish countryside – Can supply be improved?

      Buckley, Cathal; Hynes, Stephen; van Rensburg, Tom M.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (School of Biology and Environmental Science at University College Dublin in association with Teagasc, 30/06/2008)
      Public access to the Irish countryside for walking and recreation generally is a contentious issue. Increased affluence, mobility and changing values have brought about increased demands with respect to recreation in the countryside. There is also a greater emphasis on consumption demands for goods and services in rural areas. However, provision of a walking product has not been without problems in Ireland. This paper focuses on how public access provision for recreational walking might be enhanced by exploring the situation and precedent in a cross section of European and other developed nations and by examining the concerns of landowners especially with regard to public liability. Supply side factors affecting public access provision are examined in an economic context and a discussion is offered on how the supply might be improved. In the absence of compulsion through legislation, which seems unlikely in an Irish context, this paper contends that the supply of public access is dependent on factors such as cost of provision, potential monetary incentives and landowner preferences. Finally, a change to the Occupiers Liability Act to a definitive enter at your own risk situation would help dissipate liability concerns.
    • Public access to the countryside: An exploration of the costs and benefits of farmland walking trails

      Howley, Peter; Doherty, Edel; Buckley, Cathal; Hynes, Stephen; van Rensburg, Tom M.; green, stuart; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2010)
      To date, estimates of individuals’ willingness to pay (WTP) for access to the countryside have typically been on sites of special interest such as developed walking routes, public rights of way in specific areas, national parks and forests (see Lockwood and Tracy, 1995; Bennett and Tranter, 1997; Crabtree and MacDonald, 1997; Liston-Heyes and Heyes, 1999; Garrod et al., 1998; Bennett et al., 2003; Buckley et al., 2009; Morris et al., 2009). There has been little if any attempt to derive estimates of individuals’ WTP for the provision of walking trails in the wider countryside at a national level. The present study aims to build on previous work by examining the demand for particular types of walking trails through a nationally representative survey of the Irish population. One further advantage of this research is that apart from valuing walking activities in a generic sense this paper investigates what types of investment in facilities associated with walking trails generate the greatest welfare gains. Furthermore, using a nationally representative survey of the farming population this paper examines farmers’ willingness to participate in a hypothetical walking scheme whereby the general public will be allowed access to specific trails. First by way of background this paper will discuss the situation in relation to access rights to the countryside across a number of countries. Second this paper will outline the research approach which is followed with a discussion of the empirical results. Finally this paper will conclude with a discussion of the papers main findings and their implications for the provision of public access to the countryside.
    • Recent Trends in Employment and Unemployment: Assessing the impact of the economic downturn on part-time farmers

      Meredith, David (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2011)
      This paper provides an overview of contemporary trends in national employment and unemployment before providing a synopsis of the regional distribution of unemployment and how it has changed in recent years. Using Quarterly National Household Survey data (QNHS) the analysis then focuses on a sub-group within the QNHS data who report employment in Agriculture, Forestry or Fishing as a secondary occupation. This latter group derive the majority of their income off-farm and fall firmly within the 'part-time' farming category. Exploring changes in employment patterns amongst this group not only highlights the impact of the recession on farm-based families but also reveals some of the ongoing consequences of the restructuring of Ireland’s rural economy. The paper concludes by considering the implications of these findings with regard to demand for state supports to farmers.
    • Recent trends in employment and unemployment: assessing the impact of the economic downturn on part-time farmers

      Meredith, David (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2010)
      This paper begins with an overview of contemporary trends in national employment and unemployment before providing a synopsis of the regional distribution of unemployment and how it has changed in recent years. Using Quarterly National household Survey data the analysis then focuses on a sub-group within the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) data who report employment in Agriculture, Forestry or Fishing as a secondary occupation. This latter group derive the majority of their income off-farm and fall firmly within the 'part-time' farming category. Exploring changes in employment patterns amongst this group not only highlights the impact of the recession on farm-based families but also reveals some of the ongoing consequences of the restructuring of Ireland’s rural economy. The paper concludes by considering the implications of these findings with regard to demand for state supports to farmers.
    • Recreational demand for farm commonage in Ireland: A contingent valuation assessment

      Buckley, Cathal; van Rensburg, Tom M.; Hynes, Stephen; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Elsevier Inc., 2009-07)
      This paper measures willingness to pay (WTP) for public access and trail improvements on commonage farmland for recreational walking in upland and lowland areas of Connemara region in the West of Ireland using the Contingent Valuation Method (CVM). Common to both upland and lowland commonage sites was the much higher ranking for infrastructural features by those WTP for scenario implementation compared to those preferring the status quo. Results for those expressing a positive WTP reveal a median willingness to pay (MWTP) for formal access with improved trail infrastructure of €12.22 for the lowlands compared with €9.08 for the uplands.
    • Recreational demand modelling for agricultural resources

      Hynes, Stephen (Teagasc, 31/07/2007)
      In the last decade the demand for rural recreation has increased in Ireland as the population has become increasingly urbanised. Increased affluence, mobility and changing values have also brought new demands with respect to landscape, conservation, heritage and recreation, with a greater emphasis on consumption demands for goods and services in rural areas. This project’s contribution to the understanding of outdoor recreational pursuits in Ireland is based on the estimation of the first recreation demand functions for farm commonage walking, small-scale forestry recreation and whitewater kayaking. These are all popular activities that take place in Irish rural space. We use this empirical work to investigate the more general conflict between countryside recreational pursuits and farming activity. Through the estimation of travel cost models, the study derives the mean willingness to pay of the average outdoors enthusiast using small-scale forestry sites in Co. Galway, using farm commonage in Connemara and using the Roughty river for kayaking recreation in Co. Kerry. An estimate of the gross economic value of the sites as recreational resources was also derived. The results indicate the high value of Irish farmland (and the Irish rural countryside in general) from a recreational amenity perspective. The project lasted approximately 2 years and was completed on-time (31st July 2007).
    • A Response to the Draft National Mitigation Plan. Teagasc submission to the Department of Communications, Climate Action & theEnvironment

      Lanigan, Gary; Donnellan, Trevor; Hanrahan, Kevin; Gultzer, Carsten; Forrestal, Patrick J.; Farrelly, Niall; Shalloo, Laurence; O’Brien, Donal; Ryan, Mary; Murphy, Pat; et al. (Teagasc, 2017-04)
      This submission details the mitigation potential of agriculture to shortly be published as an update to the Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC) for Agriculture and and describes how the MACC mitigation strategies relate to the measures in the National Mitigation Plan.