• Seasonality and Costs of Production on Irish dairy farms from 1994-2008

      Smyth, Paul; Harte, Laurence; Hennessy, Thia (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2010)
      Previous research has highlighted the economic advantages of spring calving in countries such as Ireland that have a long spring/summer grazing season. However, the widespread adoption of such a production system leads to a highly seasonal milk supply and a range of problems that are associated with seasonality. The objective of this paper is to use historical data to quantify the economic benefits of a spring calving system. Data from over 400 dairy farms in Ireland over a period of 15 years is examined. Fixed, random and between effects panel models are estimated to test the significance of calving season on production costs. The results show the effect of calving season is significant at lowering production costs. These models returned results suggesting that high compact early Spring herds have significantly lower costs than over seasons. However the fixed effect model demonstrates little difference between production costs in different seasons suggesting individual effects such as the ability of the farmer may play a role in reduction of costs. Herds that are calved over a shorter period tend to have lower production costs.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • The Evolution of a Collective Response to Rural Underdevelopment

      Heanue, Kevin; O'Donoghue, Kieran; O'Neill, Michael (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2011)
      The downturn in the Irish economy coupled with high levels of unemployment has focused attention on the need to promote economic development throughout the economy. This paper provides case study evidence on one successful approach to rural economic development by outlining the evolution, outcomes and key capabilities involved in a collective action response to the challenge of rural underdevelopment in North West Connemara. Reviewing a fifty year period, the case study shows that collective action in the region has not only been a series of events, but more crucially from a development perspective, it is embedded as an institution and a process. Therefore, as a result of learning by this community over a fifty year period, a collective action response has evolved as a key strategy to overcome government and market failure in relation to rural development. This case provides a good example to other communities of how locality can be drawn upon and used as an advantage in an increasingly globalised environment and how a local community can seek to ameliorate the negative aspects of globalisation by harnessing its local resources. In broad policy terms, the implication is that there are public good benefits to be gained from assisting and encouraging local communities through the provision of finance and capability building support, to deliver collective action responses to their particular challenges.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • The role of investment, fundamental Q and financing frictions in agricultural investment decisions: an analysis pre and post financial crisis

      O'Toole, Conor M.; Newman, Carol; Hennessy, Thia; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2011)
      This paper uses a fundamental Q model of investment to consider the role played by nancing frictions in agricultural investment decisions, controlling econometrically for censoring, heterogeneity and errors-in-variables. Our ndings suggest that farmer's in- vestment decisions are not driven by market fundamentals. We nd some evidence that debt overhang restricts investment but investment is not dependent on liquidity or internal funds. The role of nancing frictions in determining investment decisions changes in the post- nancial crisis period when debt overhang becomes a signi cant impediment to farm investment. The evidence suggests that farmers increasingly rely on internal liquidity to drive investment. Finally, we nd no evidence that farmers use o -farm capital to fund on-farm investment.
    • 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.
    • Explaining the non-economic behaviour of farm foresters: The effect of productivist and lifestyle motivations

      Howley, Peter; Hynes, Stephen; O'Donoghue, Cathal (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2012)
      Currently rates of planting lag far behind levels that would be expected from a comparison of the returns from farm forestry with competing agricultural alternatives. Previous research has focused on the role of economic factors such as government subsidies, returns from competing agricultural alternatives and structural farm factors in explaining the decision to afforest. By examining the role of farming attitudes and motivations, the aim of this paper is to provide a framework for better understanding farmers’ behaviour in relation to the decision to enter into forestry. The results provide rare quantitative evidence that strong lifestyle and productivist motivations significantly affect farmers’ behaviour. Environmental values and perceptions regarding the extent to which forestry is seen as a component of a natural landscape were two further factors found to affect the probability of participation. We conclude that the design of policies aimed at encouraging changes in farm activities ought to be guided by a better understanding of the motivations and attitudes of farm operators.
    • 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.
    • The role of non-pecuniary benefits in the labour allocation decision of farmers.

      Howley, Peter; Dillon, Emma; Hennessy, Thia (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2012)
      Previous research has primarily focused on the impact of economic variables in explaining the off farm labour allocation decisions of principal farm operators. This study finds attitudes regarding the non-pecuniary benefits associated with the farming lifestyle also significantly affect behaviour by acting as a strong disincentive to farmers towards working off farm. This may suggest that even if economic returns are greater in the offfarm labour market, farmers may not supply additional labour off farm. We also employed separate models of off-farm labour market participation and off-farm labour supply and found certain variables such as a farm operator’s age and the level of diversification undergone by the farm business affect off farm labour market participation and hours supplied differently.
    • 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
    • The Welfare Impact of Price Changes on Household Welfare and Inequality 1999-2011

      Loughrey, Jason; O’Donoghue, Cathal (Economic and Social Studies, 2012)
      This paper attempts to use applied micro-economic research to understand the impact of price changes over the period 1999-2011 in Ireland. This measure combines an efficiency component using a Linear Expenditure System (LES) and an equity component using the Atkinson Index of Inequality. The efficiency component includes the behavioural response to price changes for non-subsistence expenditures thereby producing a Cost of Living Index. The Atkinson Index of Inequality produces an inequality measure and this is combined with the Cost of Living Index to produce an overall welfare measure. This extends upon the existing Irish literature on this issue by accounting for this broader set of components. The results show that changes in the cost of living have differed substantially between households both in terms of demographics and the position of the household in the income distribution and that behavioural response can potentially improve the welfare position of households in response to price changes in most years.
    • 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 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.
    • 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.
    • Does the single farm payment affect farmers’ behaviour? A macro and micro analysis

      Howley, Peter; Breen, J.; 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.
    • 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.