• Assessing the Economical and Environmental Impact of Cultivating Genetically Modified (GM) crops in Ireland

      Mullins, Ewen; Flannery, M.L.; Meade, C.; Thorne, Fiona (Teagasc, 2004-01-01)
      At present, there is no GM crop cultivation in Ireland. This could change in the near future however, following the inclusion of several GM maize varieties on the EU Common Seed Catalogue in 2004. Before an Irish GM tillage sector develops, information must be provided to farmers/regulators in regard to the potential economic impact of the technology and the environmental issues associated with GM crops. This project (RMIS 5211) has examined: 1. The economic cost-benefit of cultivating several GM crops (Phytophthora resistant potato, Septoria resistant wheat, Rhynchosporium resistant barley, Fusarium resistant wheat and herbicide tolerant sugar beet) 2. The environmental issue of gene flow by modelling the propensity of seven crop species (wheat, barley, sugar beet, oilseed rape, maize, potato and ryegrass) to spread their genetic material (be it GM/non-GM) through pollen/seed-mediated gene flow. The cost-benefit analysis specifically examined the impact of reduced chemical input and indicated that each GM crop tested would be more cost efficient than their conventional equivalent. Inputting the regimes and subsequent costs for the 2002 and 2003 growing season into the analysis, farmers would have returned a greater cost savings in 2002 for each of the GM crops, with the exception of potato. While a significant increase in gross margin was recorded for all GM crops, the greatest savings (€ha-1) occurred in the case of herbicide tolerant sugar beet in the absence (9.8% saving) or presence (23.2% saving) of a yield effect. Modelling a crop’s propensity to spread its genetic material (‘gene flow’) was achieved through the creation of a composite gene flow index (GFI) model. Taking into account both pollen and seed mediated data, presence/absence of interfertile wild relatives and current farming practises, a GFI value was returned for each crop. Unless the GM event altered the seed/pollen production of the crop, it can be anticipated that the same GFI value will apply to a GM/non-GM variety of the particular crop. Crops that returned the highest GFI values were ryegrass, oilseed rape and sugar beet. Importantly, a high GFI score does not imply the prohibition of GM varieties of that crop. Rather, it highlights those crops that possess a higher propensity for gene flow and thus require greater management precautions in light of coexistence regulations. To facilitate the provision of this and other relevant research information, a website (www.gmoinfo.ie) has been provided to further public understanding of the issues. Structured in a non-scientific format, this resource will be updated on a regular basis in response to public requests for further information and with research findings from the risk assessment programme at Oak park.
    • An Assessment of the Irish Speciality Food Enterprises’ use of the Internet as a Marketing Tool

      Canavan, Orla; Henchion, Maeve; O’Reilly, Seamus; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Teagasc, 01/04/2005)
      This study set out to explore the role of the Internet as a marketing tool for Irish speciality food producers and to research on-line speciality food sales as a business opportunity. The project achieved this through a combination of consumer focus groups, a producer web audit, producer depth interviews and an e-mailed on-line producer survey. Irish consumers acknowledged potential for on-line sales of Irish speciality food products to export and gift markets; however they could not see significant advantages for on-line sales in the domestic market. Experience with the product (and consequent importance of the purchase experience), the high delivery cost of an already premium priced product and difficulties associated with receipt of deliveries were identified as the main reasons for not purchasing on-line.
    • Barriers to Change: a Sociological study of Rural Development in Ireland

      Macken-Walsh, Aine; ICERTS Marine Beaufort Marine Award (Teagasc, 01/06/2009)
      Teagasc’s Rural Economy Research Centre (RERC) and Rural Development Advisory Unit initiated a research project in 2006 to investigate the ‘Barriers to Change’ experienced by farmers and fishers in adapting to challenges arising from a changed rural development mandate. Economic models developed by the organisation predicted farmers’ exodus over time from nonviable farming enterprises and in response to shifts towards postproductivist policies. A significant proportion of farmers, however, are continuing with what are officially categorised as nonviable farms and are slow to become involved in economic activities in line with the contemporary rural development agenda. In this light, the ‘Barriers to Change’ project was designed to explore the sociocultural inhibitors to farmers’ engagement. The project also incorporated a casestudy analysis of a fishing community whose members are experiencing similar ‘barriers’.
    • A Census Atlas of Irish Agriculture

      Commins, P.; Lafferty, F.; Walsh, J.A. (Teagasc, 1999-08-01)
      Computerised mapping systems were developed to analyse agricultural census statistics and data from agricultural policy administration sources. The objective was to identify local geographical variations in the structure and trends in the agricultural economy by mapping the available information, principally at the level of the District Electoral Division (DED) and the Rural District (RD). There were 3,113 DEDs and 156 RDs in the analysis. The main database was the 1991 Census of Agriculture, the latest available. Some statistics are updated annually and where possible these were used in tabular form to trace the 1991- 1997 trends for Regional Authority areas. Conclusions: There are distinctive farming regions in the country whose boundaries span unevenly across county limits. These are undergoing different processes of change depending on their resource base, their responses to economic imperatives, and the policy environment. • Commercial farming has become increasingly associated with areas south and east of a line from Limerick to Dundalk. • It is likely that policies and trends post 2000 will further increase the differences in resource use between commercial farming and other areas.
    • Commercial systems for ultra-rapid chilling of lamb

      Redmond, Grainne; McGeehin, Brian; Henchion, Maeve; Sheridan, James J.; Troy, Declan J.; Cowan, Cathal; Butler, Francis (Teagasc, 2001-08)
      The overall objective was to devise a rapid chilling system for the Irish lamb processing industry. The objective of the first trial was to assess the effect of ultra-rapid chilling in air at - 4ºC, -10ºC and -20ºC and subsequent ageing on the appearance and tenderness of lamb carcasses. The objective of the next trial was to investigate the effect of carcass splitting, which produces faster chilling rates and reduces skeletal constraint of muscles, on the tenderness of rapidly and conventionally chilled lamb. The next task was to compare the effects of immersion chilling and conventional air chilling on meat tenderness and evaporative weight loss in lamb carcasses. The next task was to assess the level of interest in industry. This required costings of the process and a survey of several lamb processors focusing on their perceptions of rapid chilling in general, its advantages and disadvantages, and the implications of adopting the new system. The final objective was to introduce the ultra-rapid chilling process to industry via a factory trial. Lambs were ultra-rapidly chilled and then exported to France for assessment.
    • The competitiveness of the Irish food processing industry

      Pitts, Eamonn; O'Connell, Larry; McCarthy, Breda (Teagasc, 2001-07)
      Ways of measuring industrial competitiveness are discussed and an analysis of the competitiveness of the food sector as a whole and of three sub-sectors are presented. The techniques employed were Revealed Comparative Advantage and the Porter Diamond.
    • Consumer attributes of farmhouse cheese and honey

      Cowan, Cathal; Murphy, Maurice; Daly, Eimear; Meehan, Hilary; Henchion, Maeve; Pitts, Eamonn; Delahunty, Conor; O'Reilly, Seamus; European Commission; CT95 -0360 (Teagasc, 2000-12)
      This study determined the ideal combination of attributes of farmhouse cheese (cheddar-type) and farmhouse honey for different consumer segments.
    • Consumer perceptions of meat quality

      Cowan, Cathal; Mannion, Michael; Langan, John; Keane, John B. (Teagasc, 1999-10)
      This study describes the policies in place for meat quality in six EU states, ascertains the consumer perception of quality for beef, pork and chicken and suggests how quality policy can be improved so it better meets the perceived needs of consumers.
    • Contested Ruralities: Housing in the Irish Countryside

      Pitts, Eamonn; Meredith, David; Duffy, Patrick J.; Walsh, Jim; Keaveney, Karen; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Teagasc, 01/01/2007)
      The purpose of the study is to examine housing in the Irish countryside. Housing in the countryside has become an increasingly contested issue in Ireland due to processes of rural change. The realm of debate is around issues such as who has the right to live in the countryside and how traditional settlement patterns can be sustained into the future. The debate, which has many contributors from politics, media and interest groups, has suffered from a lack of large-scale empirical research. The release of a combination of data from the 2002 Census of Population (house type with type sewerage facility used) has allowed this research to establish the spatial extent of single rural dwellings, the most contested and least known about element of living in the Irish countryside. Using this data in conjunction with the study of local level housing processes, a greater understanding of rural housing in Ireland has been established.
    • Costs of cereal production in Ireland and selected EU member states

      Kelly, P.W.; Shanahan, Ultan (Teagasc, 2001-02-01)
      This study investigates the costs of production and producers margins for barley and wheat production in Ireland and some other EU member states. Ireland is compared with Germany, Denmark, France (for wheat only), the UK and Italy. The data used was from the Farm Accounts Data Network (FADN) of the EU and relates to the calendar year 1998. It is derived from specialist producers in the Cereals, Oilseeds and Protein (COP) sector.
    • Crop costs and margins and future cereal prices.

      Kelly, P.W. (Teagasc, 1999-09-01)
      This report summarises two pieces of research, one on Irish crop gross margins and the structure of direct costs for the period 1994-97 and the other on trends in world cereal prices to 2008 and their influence on the price of cereals in Ireland.
    • Development of a Strategic Approach for a Single EU Beef Market

      Dunne, Liam; O'Connell, John (Teagasc, 2004-12-31)
      The MacSharry reforms of the CAP in 1992 initiated a major EU policy shift from product price support to a mix of lower prices and increased direct payments (DPs) as the primary method of supporting the income of cattle farmers. The reduction in the support price for beef and the introduction of new and increased DPs were phased in over a three year period up to 1995. In working paper No. 4 it was shown that cattle farmers in Ireland obtain the lowest beef prices in the EU but they also obtain the highest DPs per kilo of beef produced. The DPs are now a major source of revenue for cattle farmers in Ireland. Under the current system of administering DPs for beef, the value of DPs accruing to the individual cattle farmer is dependent on the possession of certain types of animals that are farmed within defined stocking densities. This paper evaluates how the changes have impacted on the margins for the cattle enterprise on the farms in the Teagasc, National Farm Survey (NFS) over the five year period 1993 to 1997. In particular the evaluation focused on: • the trends in the size of gross and net margins for a range of cattle systems • the trends in market based margins • the contribution of DPs to gross and net margins • the distribution of DPs among different types and size of cattle
    • Development of a Strategic Approach for a Single EU Beef Market. Extensification. An Analysis of National and Competitive Issues

      Dunne, Liam; Shanahan, Ultan; O’Connell, John (Teagasc, 31/12/2008)
      The economic merits of the two Options for extensification under Agenda 2000 were evaluated in relation to their ability to generate revenue and their impact on the competitiveness of Irish cattle farming.
    • Development of a Strategic Approach for a Single EU Beef Market: An Evaluation of Changes in the EU Intervention system and Labelling Regulations in Relation to Irish Cattle Prices.

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

      McDonagh, Perpetua; Commins, Patrick; Leavy, Anthony (Teagasc, 1999-08-01)
      This report compares the 11 western counties (Connacht, Ulster, and counties Longford, Clare and Kerry) with the 15 other counties, in aggregate, as regards the effectiveness of various policies and programme measures in reaching their target populations.
    • Direct Payment Measures, competitiveness, farm and rural area viability.

      Frawley, J.P.; Keeney, M. (Teagasc, 1999-08-01)
      Direct payments are recurring non-market transfers to farmers whether they are production related or not. There are three main types: (a) compensatory allowances (headage), (b) premia and (c) agri-environmental payments. In 1998 total payments amounted to £967.3 million, up from £158.4 million in 1992. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effectiveness of these payments in maintaining farm units, their implications for farm efficiency and competitiveness and their impact on sustaining viable farm units and rural areas. Data from the National Farm Survey shows the average level of payment was £6,670 in 1997 but varied substantially by farm size. For instance, farms over 100 ha on average received £28,207 in contrast with £3,305 for farms between 10 and 20 ha. Similarly, the distribution of payments by different farm systems shows considerable variation with tillage farmers receiving £15,760 and cattle farms receiving less than £6,000. The most significant feature, however, is the extent of the dependency of farm incomes on direct payments. For instance, on tillage and drystock farms these payments represented close to, or even exceeded the family farm income earned. This means that the income from sales are just about sufficient to cover the costs of production; the cheque in the post being the farm income. Without direct payments large segments of the farm population would operate at a loss; a situation which obviously could not be sustained. The impact of direct payments on farm efficiency and competitiveness is not so clear cut. Analysis of 1996 NFS data shows that the response on cattle farms to increased levels of direct payments was to reduce farm output. However, in terms of farm practice the dominant response was to increase stock numbers and farm inputs, such as feed and fertiliser. This latter response can be taken as adjustments to ensure sufficient stock numbers to maximise the level of payments and not necessarily a contradiction of reduced output responses. For instance the dominant anticipated response to a decoupled payment system is a reduction in farm inputs and stock numbers, a response associated with the more progressive sector of farmers. Notwithstanding the present level of these payments it is clear that the viability of farm units on most small to medium-sized drystock farms can not be assured in a farm context only. Increasingly farmers and their spouses are opting for off-farm employment to supplement their household incomes and to sustain the viability of the family farm unit. Ultimately the optimum use of family labour which is marginal or surplus to farm activities, is deployment off the farm; this clearly has a positive influence on the viability of rural areas.
    • Diversifying Marine-Based Employment Opportunities in Peripheral Communities

      Heanue, Kevin; European Commission (Teagasc, 01/01/2009)
      This project was a development project connected to an INTERREG sub-programme called the Northern Periphery Programme (NPP). More specifically, this project was funded as an NPP Preparatory Project. The aim of such NPP Preparatory Projects is to facilitate the development of a transnational consortium that may produce an application to the NPP for a main project. Such a main project application will not directly ensue from this Preparatory Project, although it may do so in the future. Nevertheless, there are tangible immediate returns to Teagasc from this Preparatory Project that include 1) the opportunity, if considered appropriate, for Teagasc to join an existing NPP main project in 2011 that promotes a new mechanism to support rural enterprise such as food and tourism in the form of the Economusuem® concept and 2) the establishment of new international and national academic and agency contacts working in the area of local development.
    • An Econometric Model of Irish Beef Exports

      Hanrahan, Kevin (Teagasc, 2001-01-01)
      This report summarizes research that the author undertook as part of his doctoral studies in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Missouri- Columbia.† The policy environment within which the Irish beef sector operates is changing such that the demand for Irish beef will increasingly be of a market rather than a policy determined nature. This changing environment makes knowledge concerning the demand for Irish beef important to understanding the economic prospects of the sector. The objectives of this research were thus two fold. The first objective was to investigate the demand for Irish beef in the UK. The second objective relates to how such consumer demand models are econometrically estimated. The empirical results show that the demand for beef in general in the UK is not price elastic and that the demand for Irish beef in the UK is price inelastic. The expenditure elasticity of demand for beef in the UK is also inelastic. The implications of this result for the Irish beef industry are as follows Decreases in the price of beef in the UK will not lead to large increases in British demand for beef. Increases in expenditure on meats will see expenditure on beef increase but to a lesser extent than other meats. Increases in the price of Irish beef relative to the prices of other beef products on the UK market will not lead to a large decrease in the market share of Irish beef. The relative insensitivity of demand for Irish beef in the UK to changes in its relative price also implies that attempts to increase the Irish share of the UK beef market will require very large reductions in the price of Irish beef. Given the current dependence of the Irish beef industry on subsidized exports to non-EU markets, the results of this research imply that attempts to re-orientate the Irish industry more towards servicing EU beef markets will require either large price decreases, with the consequent impacts on the market based revenue of the Irish beef industry and farmers, or alternatively, a movement towards the production of beef products that appeal to the non-price concerns of EU consumers and away from the production of a commodity product.
    • Econometric modelling of the EU agri-food sector through co-operation with partners in the EU-AG-MEMOD Project

      Donnellan, Trevor; Hanrahan, Kevin; Riordan, Brendan (Teagasc, 2005-04-01)
      This research project set out to build an EU agricultural policy modelling system involving participants from right across the enlarged EU. Policy Analysis is conducted at an aggregate commodity level for the main sectors of EU agriculture. The work summarised here took place over the period 2001 to 2004. The implementation of the Luxembourg Agreement and the Enlargement of the EU will lead to significant changes to the way in which agriculture operates in the EU25. Under the reform, direct payments that have been linked to production are to be decoupled to varying degrees across the Union. Enlargement will mean that agriculture in several New Member States (NMS) will come under the EU system of payments, supply constraints and market price supports for the first time. In light of the above, the most common current approach to agriculture commodity modelling and policy analysis - that which treats the entire EU as a single entity - faces a considerable challenge. Given the heterogeneity of EU agriculture and agricultural policy across the enlarged EU, it is increasingly the case that ‘the devil is in the detail’. From a scientific perspective, country level policy analysis is important in order to capture the consequences of this heterogeneity. Moreover, at a political level, policy makers realise that policy proposals either sink or swim on the basis of the perception of their expected future impact at a national level. Hence, it is important to be able to inform and facilitate a debate on the relative merits of particular reform proposals by having national (or even sub-national) level analysis to hand. The case for national level modelling across the EU is easily made, but few practitioners have taken up the challenge it presents.i Key problems include funding constraints, the absence of reliable national data sources, difficulties in agreeing and co-ordinating a consistent modelling approach and, perhaps most importantly, the absence of an integrated network of economists with knowledge of local level agriculture and agricultural policy across the enlarged EU.
    • Economic Analysis of Policy Changes in the Beef and Sheep Sectors.

      Binfield, Julian; Hanrahan, Kevin; Henchion, Maeve (Teagasc, 2001-06-01)
      The work reported in this document commenced in 1997 under the auspices of the FAPRI-Ireland Partnership. It documents the development of aggregate commodity level models for the beef and sheep sectors, and their subsequent simulation under different policy and macroeconomic environments. Companion reports document the development of similar models for other commodities, and of farm level models.