• Gender Relations and Women’s Off-farm Employment: a critical analysis of discourses

      Hanrahan, Sheena (Teagasc, 01/01/2007)
      This project addresses gender relations on dairy farms in Irish Republic. Its aim was to explore the way women who are married to farmers but who are employed in paid employment off the farm are constructed in agricultural policy discourse. It was proposed that discourses encapsulate the values and interests of powerful actors and are constitutive in their effect. Hence they are implicated in women’s experience of life within a ‘farm family’. Following on from this it may be said that women’ s continued subordination in Irish farming or indeed their chances of achieving equal status are circumscribed by dominant discourses.
    • GENEDEC

      Shrestha, Shailesh; Hennessy, Thia; European Commission (Teagasc, 01/01/2007)
      GENEDEC was a European project funded under the 6th Framework. It was co-ordinated by INRA Grignon with ten European partners and a time frame of 42 months. The purpose of the project was to conduct a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the socio-economic and environmental impacts of the decoupling of direct payments on agricultural production, markets and land use in the EU. It was envisaged that the pan-EU nature of the project would facilitate an international comparison of the effects of decoupling and would provide policy makers with sufficient information to identify the key winners and losers from decoupling throughout the EU. The project aimed to provide insights into the workability of decoupling and its impacts, and to analyse alternative policy options to improve the agricultural support system. Specifically, through the use of farm level models, this project estimated the effects of existing and proposed decoupled support schemes on production, land use and land prices and the implications for farm incomes and the future structural development of farms. The project was divided into 9 Work Packages depending on objectives and time frame of the project. The main role of RERC Teagasc was in Work Package 2 which aimed to develop farm level mathematical models and used the models developed to determine the impact of decoupling on Irish farms. The work in RERC started in November 2004 and ended in May 2006. A brief description of the models developed and results generated by RERC is provided here.
    • Historical Grassland Turboveg Database Project. 2067 Relevés recorded by Dr Austin O’ Sullivan 1962 – 1982

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

      Finn, John A.; Kavanagh, B.; Flynn, M.; Environmental Protection Agency; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; 2001-EEA/DS10-M2 (Teagasc, 01/04/2005)
      The aim of this study was to identify and select quantitative environmental attributes for a monitoring programme that may be integrated into an environmental evaluation of Ireland’s agri-environmental scheme. This was achieved primarily by reviewing a range of agri-environmental indicators and suggesting indicators that would be appropriate for monitoring the REPS. The study conducted a desk review to collate information on current best practice in monitoring for environmental quality. A Project Group (comprising representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], Department of Agriculture and Food [DAF], Teagasc, and the project supervisors) advised on the ongoing development of the project. There was a consultation process with national experts, and with a selection of stakeholder organisations with an interest in monitoring the environmental impact of the REPS.
    • Impact analysis of the CAP reform on main agricultural commodities

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

      Frawley, J.P.; Keeney, Mary (Teagasc, 2000-11-01)
      The switch in emphasis from market support systems in the 1992 CAP reform toward direct payments resulted in a dramatic increase in financial support terms, from £336.7 million in 1991 to £915.3 million in 1999 (current prices). The impact of this change in Irish agricultural policy was to increase substantially the dependency of farmers, with the exception of dairy farmers, on the ‘cheque in the post’ for a farm income. It is the impact of these changes on the distribution of farm income which is of concern in this study. In line with these policy changes the proportion of average family farm income derived from the market (as opposed to direct payments) decreased from 73.3 per cent in 1993 to 37.1 per cent in 1997. At the same time the corresponding proportions for direct payments increased from 26.7 per cent to 62.9 per cent. Analysis of the distribution of family farm income by deciles (based on FFI) and for all farms indicates a more equitable distribution of income between 1993 and 1997. This improvement in equity is attributed to the effects of direct payments on farm incomes. Analysis decomposing the individual effects of selected measures show that (i) the suckler cow premia, and (ii) the headage payments (Livestock headage payments in the Disadvantaged Areas) were the most effective measures in favouring income distribution equity. Cross compliance schemes (REPS and extensification) and the special beef premia had a more moderate effect in terms of equity while the arable aid payments contributed least to farm income equity. The market-derived income component had a high negative effect on equity of farm income distribution. The inclusion of a high proportion of dairy farmers among those with high farm incomes is a likely factor in this respect.
    • The impact of feed resource costs on the relative competitiveness of beef with other meats

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

      Henchion, Maeve; O'Reilly, Paul; Kelly, Deborah; Buckley, Marie; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 01/10/2009)
      The process by which knowledge generated by publicly-funded research is transferred to industry – technology transfer – has been criticised as being inefficient and having limited success. This research project aimed to obtain a better understanding of the technology transfer process and thereby contribute to policy development and provide guidance for researchers to improve the process. Through a series of focus groups, surveys, case studies and depth interviews, the research identified five key challenges that exist in the context of the Irish food innovation system. These relate to communication, industry capabilities, research capabilities, strategic management and socialisation. To address these challenges, a selection of tools, illustrative case studies and recommendations for a range of stakeholders on how to deal with each of these challenges is provided on the project website (www.dit.ie/toolbox/).
    • Increasing the logistics efficiency of fresh food exports

      Henchion, Maeve; O'Reilly, Paul; Pitts, Eamonn; Crowley, James; Dolan, Martina; Keary, Roisin; Collins, Alan (Teagasc, 1999-10)
      This report is concerned with the impact on the competitiveness of the Irish food processing industry of the logistics process in the food chain including transport, storage and distribution.
    • Innovation in small food processing enterprises and dynamics of local development

      Mahon, Denise; Pitts, Eamonn; European Commission (Teagasc, 2005-01)
      The extent of innovation in small food processing firms in the Border and South West regions of Ireland were examined as were the factors relating to innovation in these firms. Eighty-five percent of firms undertook some form of innovation in the five years preceding the study. Innovation within firms was related to the youth of the manager and of the firm itself and was also associated with investment in staff training and in Research and Development (R&D) by the firm and with numbers of qualified staff.
    • Integrated Rural Tourism

      Hunter, Barbara A; Commins, Patrick; McDonagh, Perpetua (Teagasc, 2004-06-01)
      The overall aim of the SPRITE project was to analyse and develop the potential for better integrated tourism (IT) in the lagging rural regions of Europe. “Integrated rural tourism” is tourism, which is directly and positively linked to the economic, social, cultural and natural resources in the rural region in which it takes place. It seeks to make optimal use of these resources. It is basically a perspective or an approach to tourism development, which is sensitive to the nature of local resources and traditions and to the opportunities for sharing in the benefits of tourism development. In Ireland work on the project was shared between Rural Economy Research Centre of Teagasc, who held responsibility for the study of one selected region referred to as the North Midland Counties, and the Department of Geography at NUIG, who analysed the Western Region. This report is predominantly concerned with the work done by staff of Rural Economy Research Centre in the North Midland region.
    • Inter-Country Cost Comparisons in Beef.

      Dunne, William; Murphy, H.; O'Connell, John J.; Drennan, Michael J; Keane, Michael G. (Teagasc, 2001-05-01)
      The purpose of this study was to: • establish the competitiveness of the Irish beef production systems post the 1992 CAP reform • quantify how Irish beef production costs, and cost components, compare with those for the other EU countries • determine the strengths and weaknesses of the Irish production systems.
    • Irish consumers' willingness to pay for safe beef

      Cowan, Cathal; Riordan, Nicola; McCarthy, Mary (Teagasc, 2000-09)
      Five hundred Irish consumers were asked about their willingness to pay for safe beef. Their concerns for the safety of food, their level of knowledge of safe food practices and awareness of food poisoning agents were also ascertained.
    • The Irish Hardy Nursery Stock Industry: Recent Trends and Competitive Position.

      Thorne, Fiona; Kelly, P.W.; Maher, M.J.; Harte, Laurence (Teagasc, 2002-12-01)
      Th Irish Hardy Nursery Stock (HNS) industry has grown considerably in recent times. For the industry to maintain this level of growth it must remain competitive, particularly relative to the UK and the Netherlands, Ireland's main trading partners for HNS. Consequently, the objectives of this research were to (i) establish the size and value of the Irish HNS industry in 1999/2000, and (ii) examine the relative competitiveness of the Irish HNS industry, using profitability and value as indicators of competitiveness. A census of the Irish HNS industry was carried out between September 2000 and June 2001 to establish the size and value of the industry. The results of the census showed that the net value of plants produced on Irish nurseries amounted to €30.6m in 1999, an increase of €6.8m from €23.4m at the last census in 1996. In the same period the total area devoted to HNS production also increased from 391 ha in 1997 to 465ha in 1999. Kildare remains the most important county in the industry in terms of value because of the large area devoted to outdoor containerised production and production under protection. In terms of competitiveness, unpaid labour (imputed) had a significant effect on profitability levels for the three countries. When an imputed charge for unpaid labour was included in the analysis, the UK and Ireland had relatively higher Net Nursery Income (NNI) than the Netherlands. However, when the imputed charge for unpaid labour was excluded from the analysis, Ireland and the Netherlands had relatively higher NNI values than the UK. Firm size and mechanisation levels, were examined as possible sources of inter-firm variations in costs of production and profits. Economies of scale appeared to be evident as nursery size increased from `small' to `medium' and dissipated as nursery size increased from `medium' to `large'. This indicated that the minimum economic size for HNS production appeared to be relatively low. Based on the observed relationship between labour productivity and mechanisation levels, it is possible to infer that future mechanisation of the Irish industry may provide a partial solution to labour availability problems. Although the Irish HNS industry showed a competitive cost advantage, the low added value content of the Irish product is not a reassuring sign for the industry. The research revealed that the competitive potential of the industry in the Netherlands, based on relative value-added properties, was ahead of the Irish and UK industries. However, the Netherlands has not fully succeeded in converting this potential into competitive performance in the Irish market for HNS. The Irish HNS industry remains the largest supplier of HNS to the domestic market, although HNS available from the Netherlands was seen as given better value. In order for the Irish industry to remain competitive in the future the competitive strategies which the industry adopts must be re-evaluated. Distinct market segments were observed in the Irish market, which offers potential for a focused competitive strategy, which may suit smaller specialist producers. The critical buying criteria identified and subsequent relative performance of the Irish industry should provide the information, which is required for a competitive strategy of differentiation.
    • Irish retail grocery buyers: evaluation of products and suppliers

      Cantillon, Philip; O'Reilly, Paul; Collins, Alan (Teagasc, 2001-02)
      Over the last number of years the structure of the Irish grocery market has changed dramatically. The impact of external shocks, such as the arrival of Tesco, Aldi and Lidl, simply compounded the effect of changes already in process including the rollout of centralised distribution practices and the repositioning of indigenous retailers' private labels. It is argued that these events have influenced grocery buyers' selection processes as reflected in the criteria they use to evaluate suppliers.
    • Key factors influencing economic relationships and communication in European agri-food chains

      Henchion, Maeve; McIntyre, Bridin; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 2008-09)
      The project considered meat and cereal commodities in six EU countries. In total thirteen agri-food chains were examined: five pig-to-pigmeat chains, three cattle-to-beef chains, two barley-to-beer chains and three cereals-to-bakery product chains. The pig-to-pigmeat and cattle-to-beef chains were examined in Ireland.
    • Long-term Projections for the Beef and Sheep Sectors

      Hanrahan, Kevin (Teagasc, 2002-12-01)
      This study examines the effect of changes in agricultural policy and other important economic factors on the outlook for beef and sheep production in Ireland in future years. The analysis is conducted at an aggregate commodity level for the two sectors. Companion reports provide similar detail on other agriculture sectors (including dairy, pig and cereals) and for related farm level work, see Donnellan (2002), McQuinn and Behan (2002), and Behan and McQuinn (2002). The analysis summarised here took place in 2001 and 2002. The objective of the research reported here was the development and use of econometric models of the beef and sheep sectors, in conjunction with other related commodity models, to produce ten-year projections for the beef and sheep sectors under different policy scenarios. The scenarios analysed related to the second BSE crisis, the reduction and the elimination of export refunds under the auspices of a new WTO agreement, and changes in the regulations relating to the payment of extensification direct payments under the Beef Common Market Organisation (CMO). A series of interlinked economic models capable of projecting key price and output variables were built for the main Irish agricultural commodities, including the beef and sheep sectors, and these in turn were linked with models for the EU and the World. It was thus possible to estimate the implications for the Irish beef and sheep sectors of supply, demand and policy changes at a world and EU level.
    • The market for organic liquid milk in Ireland.

      Cowan, Cathal; Ni Ghraith, Dearbhla; Daly, Aidan (Teagasc, 2002-01)
      The key research question was ”what is the market potential in Ireland for organic liquid milk and related products up to 2006”? Denmark and Austria are among the most developed organic food markets in the world. Using the Diamond Model of factors contributing to competitiveness, detailed case studies of these countries were undertaken to identify the drivers in the growth of consumption of organic food and milk products. Market share for organic liquid milk in Ireland is less than 0.1% compared with 20% in Denmark and 9% in Austria. All the factors of the Diamond Model worked to grow the organic food market in Denmark and Austria. The Austrian and Danish Governments were the first in Europe to introduce legislation on organic farming and also subsidised farmers to bridge conversion to organic farming. The conventional milk sector in Ireland is very competitive but has not shown an interest in organics, whereas in Denmark the largest conventional milk processor is the main player. The small size of the Irish organic milk market means it is not a major area of rivalry at retail level. This contrasts with Denmark and Austria where retailers have driven the market. In Denmark, following approaches in 1993 from farmers’ representatives, the major retail group, FDB, lowered organic milk prices to entice consumers to switch from conventional milk. The main Danish milk processor successfully launched the ‘Harmonie’ organic brand and moved the market from niche to mainstream. In Austria, Billa, a major retailer, set market targets and introduced a high quality organic own-label brand. They encouraged farmers to switch and increase organic production by offering them five year contracts at fixed prices.
    • The market potential for in-conversion organic products in Ireland.

      Cowan, Cathal; Connolly, Liam; Howlett, Brendan; Meehan, Hilary; Ryan, Jane; Mahon, Denise; McIntyre, Bridin; Fanning, Martin; European Commission; QLK-2000-01112 (Teagasc, 2005-08)
      This report deals with the market for and financial feasibility of converting from conventional to organic food production in Ireland. All members of the organic supply chain were included in the study i.e. farmers, intermediaries, retailers and consumers, to examine the potential of a market for conversion grade produce. Conversion products are those produced in the second year of the conversion phase from conventional to organic farming. Products do not attain full organic status until this is completed.
    • Measuring Productivity Change and Efficiency on Irish Farms.

      O'Neill, Suzanne; Leavy, Anthony; Matthews, Alan (Teagasc, 2001-01-01)
      This report investigates technical change and levels of technical efficiency on Irish farms using National Farm Survey (N.F.S.) data. It also examines whether levels of technical efficiency are influenced by contact with the extension service. The study utilises a stochastic production frontier approach to measure productivity growth and the technical efficiency of a panel of Irish farms over the period 1984 to 1998. This sample was used to calculate (a) technical change over time as measured by best practice farms and (b) technical efficiency levels of all farms over this period. It, therefore, provides disaggregated estimates of technical change by farming system as well as quantifying the average level of technical efficiency. The project also examines the factors associated with differences in technical efficiency between farms and the impact of extension service contact on farm-level technical efficiency. Mean technical change (i.e. changes in best practice) continued, albeit at a declining rate, throughout the period studied. Significant differences were revealed in the rate of technical change on farms of different types. For example technical change on dairy and crop farms averaged nearly 2 per cent per annum while technical regress occurred on beef and sheep farms. In addition to examining technical change, farm efficiency relative to best practice within each farming system was also measured. Results indicate that farms achieved, on average, approximately 65 per cent of the efficiency level of best practice farms. The average level of farm efficiency has been decreasing by 0.4 per cent per annum indicating that the gap between best practice farms and all farms has been increasing by this amount over time. Thirty one percent of the most efficient farms were dairy farms while 23 per cent were arable farms. Approximately 52 per cent of the least efficient farms were cattle farms while a further 31 per cent were sheep farms. Average efficiency over the period was 34.2 per cent in the least efficient quintile of farms. This compared to almost 90 per cent for the most efficient quintile of farms. A positive relationship between age and efficiency was found up to the age of 49 years after which the relationship between age and efficiency becomes negative. The farm debt to assets ratio was positively related to efficiency while farm size and location in the West of Ireland was negatively related to efficiency. Farms in contact with the extension service were found to be on average 6.5 per cent more efficient than farms without contact. Contact farms with a lower than average dependency on direct payments were a further 6.6 per cent than contact farms with an average dependency on direct payments. Contact farms with a higher than average dependence on direct payments were 1.9 per cent less efficient than the same group of contact farms. However, efficiency on these farms with a high dependence on direct payments was still, on average, higher than on farms with no extension contact.