• Economic Performance in Irish Sheep Production

      Connolly, Liam (Teagasc, 2000-04-01)
      The objectives of this project were to identify and quantify the factors affecting the profitability of the main systems of sheep production; to identify the factors responsible for the wide variation in output between sheep farms and to assess the impact of EU policy measures on Irish sheep production.
    • Economic Projections for the Dairy and Pig Sectors

      Donnellan, Trevor (Teagasc, 2002-12-01)
      This study examines the effect of changes in agricultural policy and other important economic factors on the outlook for milk and pig production in Ireland in future years. The analysis is conducted at an aggregate commodity level for the dairy and pig sectors. Companion reports provides similar detail on other agriculture sectors (including beef, sheep and cereals) and for the outlook at farm level. The analysis summarised here took place in 2001 and 2002. The potential effect of a change in international trade policy under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreement is examined. Specifically, the analysis assumed two different possibilities for the reduction and the elimination of export subsidies. Subsequently, the impact of a change in the EU’s extensification regime is examined. A series of interlinked economic models capable of projecting key price and output variables were built for the main Irish agricultural commodities, including the dairy and pig 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 dairy sector of supply, demand and policy changes at a world and EU level. The Baseline analysis showed that under a continuation of current policy that by 2010, the Irish milk price is projected to decline to just over 25 euro per 100 kg. It was found that relative to the Baseline outcome for 2010: • a reduction in EU export subsidies in the dairy sector equivalent in scale to those introduced in the Uruguay Round Agreement would lead to a reduction in the Irish milk price of seven per cent by 2010 • an elimination of EU export subsidies in the dairy sector would lead to a reduction in the Irish milk price of 20 per cent by 2010 The Baseline analysis showed that, under a continuation of current policy, by 2010 the Irish pig sector value was projected to decrease by four per cent relative to its 2000 level. It was found that relative to the Baseline outcome for 2010: • a reduction in EU export subsidies in the agriculture sector equivalent in scale to those introduced in the Uruguay Round Agreement would lead to a reduction in Irish pig sector output value of less than two per cent • an elimination of EU export subsidies in the agriculture sector would lead to a reduction in Irish pig sector output value of eight per cent The implications of a reform of the extensification regime were not substantial. It was found that they fell for the most part on the beef and sheep sectors. The effect on milk and pig production was negligible.
    • Economics of Cattle Production Systems Post CAP Reform.

      Dunne, William; O'Neill, Ronan G.; McEvoy, Oliver (Teagasc, 2001-01-01)
      The radical reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in the early 1990’s impacted directly and indirectly on most of the farm enterprises in Ireland. The direct focus of the reform was largely confined to the cereal and beef enterprises. The reforms consisted of: • A phased reduction in the institutional support prices for cereals and beef of the order of 30 per cent • A phased switch to a direct payment system of farm income support to compensate for the product price reductions. Most farms in Ireland have a cattle enterprise, either alone or in combination with other land using enterprises. Therefore, the reforms of the CAP affected almost all the farms in the country either directly or indirectly. For cattle farmers, the potential consequencee of these changes could be far reaching in terms of their magnitude and their permeation into the details of the husbandry practices of the production system(s) themselves. These changes clearly impact on the economic efficiency of beef systems without necessarily affecting technical efficiency of the systems. The economic optimum cattle production systems would thus be achieved by using the best mix of feed resource costs, carcass values and direct payments. The purpose of the study was to: • determine the economic impact on the cattle enterprise of the switch to: • lower EU prices for beef • lower EU prices for cereals and as a consequence a lower price for concentrate feeds • the direct payment system of income support • identify the economic optimum cattle production system(s) that would arise from these changes • quantify the sensitivity of the economic optimum system to key policy, economic and technical production variables.
    • Estimation and projection of costs and margins in crop enterprises in the Republic of Ireland

      Thorne, Fiona (Teagasc, 01/01/2007)
      This project reports on the farm level crop economics research conducted in the Rural Economy Research Centre (RERC), Teagasc during the period 2003-2006. The research conducted made current estimates and one year ahead forecasts for margins in each of the major crop enterprises in the Republic of Ireland. The enterprise specific information was based on information from the Teagasc National Farm Survey (NFS), supplemented by projections of price, cost and policy information from a variety of other sources. Yield projections were based on past trends and incorporate estimates of expected variability. In addition, the distribution of profitability amongst the population of crop farms has been examined to gain further insights into the farm level situation and outlook for tillage farms based on the results from the NFS data.
    • The Estimation of Policy Impacts on Farms.

      Hennessy, Thia (Teagasc, 2001-06-01)
      The purpose of this project is to examine the impact of the Berlin agreement on EU agricultural policy reform at farm level and to estimate how farmers are likely to respond to new policy changes. Eight Representative farms in the cattle and dairy sectors are developed in order to analyse the different sectors of the farming community. Linear programming models are constructed to estimate how these farmers are likely to respond to the changing policy. Estimates of farm income are also produced. The impact of Agenda 2000 on these representative farms was analysed. The key findings showed that all farms will be subjected to a price-cost squeeze over the next ten years. By responding to policy changes farmers will be able to maintain farm net margins and in some cases increase them modestly. The key to success for dairy farmers is expansion of milk quota. Purchasing of currently leased quota and additional quota, where possible, allows larger dairy farms to maintain profits. However, smaller dairy farms, 20,000 gallons of quota or less, are pushed and pulled out of farming. Rising production costs, static milk prices and unaffordable quota push them out, while attractive sale prices for quota and potentially high off farm incomes pull them out of dairy farming. In relation to cattle farming, results show that the key to success is the maximisation of direct payments. Small and part-time farms will find extensification schemes increasingly more profitable over the coming years. While larger farms can expand operations following the changes in premia limits set out in Agenda 2000. Off farm employment will continue to be a major issue for cattle farmers to consider. It is projected however, that margins can be maintained at a sufficiently high level on large cattle farms to keep them in business.
    • European Network of Agr & Rural Policy Research (Enarpri)

      Donnellan, Trevor; Hanrahan, Kevin (Teagasc, 31/12/2006)
      The economic impact of trade policy reform receives less attention than the impact of trade policy on the environment. In part this may be due to the secondary importance attributed to environmental issues when economic consequences take centre stage. However, another consideration may be the difficulties of bringing together models which examine the economic impact of trade policy reform and models which can provide measures of environmental indicators. This study combines a partial equilibrium economic commodity model with a model for the estimation of agricultural input usage and GHG emissions. The paper examines one aspect of the relationship between trade policy and the environment, namely that between agricultural trade policy reform and indicators relating to emissions of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) from agriculture. The paper examines the impact of agricultural production levels and production practices on the level of GHG emissions from agriculture in Ireland under a Baseline of the recent reform of EU agricultural policy and an alternate scenario where trade policy reforms resulting from a future World Trade Organisation Doha Development Round agreement to reveal the extent to which there are significant environmental impacts which should be considered in addition to the conventional economic considerations.
    • Evaluation of supply control options for beef

      Dunne, William; O'Connell, John J.; Shanahan, Ultan; Drennan, Michael J; Keane, Michael G. (Teagasc, 01/07/2009)
      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 direct payments (DPs) were used to compensate farmers for the price reductions
    • An Examination of the contribution of off-farm income to the viability and sustainability of farm households and the productivity of farm businesses

      Behan, Jasmina; Carroll, James; Hennessy, Thia; Keeney, Mary; Newman, Carol; O'Brien, Mark; Thorne, Fiona; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Teagasc, 01/01/2007)
      The number of farm households in Ireland participating in the off-farm labour market has increased significantly in the last decade. According to the National Farm Survey (NFS), the number of farm households where the spouse and/or operator is working off-farm has increased from 37 per cent in 1995 to 58 per cent in 2007. The important contribution of non-farm income to viability of farm households is highlighted in the results of the Agri-Vision 2015 report, which concluded that the number of economically viable farm businesses is in decline and that a significant proportion of farm households are sustainable only because of the presence of off-farm income. Research conducted by Hennessy (2004) demonstrated that approximately 40 percent of farm households have an off-farm income and that almost 30 percent of the farming population are only sustainable because of off-farm income. Clearly, the future viability and sustainability of a large number of farm households depends on the ability of farmers and their spouses’ to secure and retain gainful off-farm employment. The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (DAFF) have recognised the importance of off-farm income to the sector and they have recommended that future policies focus on farm household viability in all its dimensions, including farm and off-farm income sources (2000).
    • An Examination of the Implications of Milk Quota Reform on the Viability and Productivity of Dairy Farming in Ireland

      Hennessy, Thia; Shrestha, Shailesh; Shalloo, Laurence; Wallace, Michael; Butler, Anne Marie; Smyth, Paul (Teagasc, 31/12/2008)
      The aim of the project was to produce quality, scientific based policy advice on the most efficient means for the transfer of milk quota between dairy farmers. The main objective of the project was to identify milk quota transfer mechanisms that would ensure the viability of the maximum number of farmers in Ireland while still supporting an internationally competitive agricultural sector. During the course of the project the Irish Department of Agriculture introduced a new milk quota transfer scheme. The milk quota exchange scheme was launched in November 2006. At this stage the objectives of the project were altered to be more policy relevant. Rather than exploring the efficiency of various milk quota transfer models, the aim of the project was redirected to explore the efficiency of the scheme as it was operated in Ireland. The rationale for this change was to provide relevant and timely feedback to policy makers on the operation of the new scheme. While the MTR agreement guaranteed the continuation of the EU milk quota regime until 2014/15, it also made provisions for a review of the milk quota system to be conducted in 2008. Clearly any changes to EU milk quota policy would have implications for farmers in Ireland. A second objective of this project was to explore some policy scenarios that may transpire from the milk quota review and to estimate the implications for farmers in Ireland.
    • An Examination of the Productivity of Irish Agriculture in a Decoupled Policy Environment

      Carroll, James; Thorne, Fiona; Newman, Carol (Teagasc, 01/09/2008)
      The Single Farm Payment (SFP) scheme came into effect in the EU from the first of January 2005. This scheme replaced the many ‘coupled’ livestock and arable aid schemes available to farmers and was heralded as a significant move towards decoupling. This thesis explores the initial effects of this policy on total factor productivity (TFP) and its components (technical efficiency change, technical change, and scale efficiency change) in the main farming sectors in Ireland.
    • Examining the Relative Competitiveness of Irish Agriculture (1996 – 2003/4)

      Thorne, Fiona (Teagasc, 2007-01-01)
      This paper examines the competitiveness of Irish agriculture compared to that of other EU and non-EU countries. The analysis was based on two main data sources – the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) for years 1996-2003 and the International Farm Comparisons Network (IFCN) for 2003 for beef production and for 2004 for milk production. Results showed that the Irish competitive position compared to other EU and non-EU countries was positive when total cash costs were considered indicating a positive outlook for Irish milk production in the short to medium term. However, as the opportunity costs of owned resources are not included in ‘cash cost’ calculations, total economic costs which include imputed charges for owned resources were considered to examine the longer term outlook for the competitiveness of the sector. Using this measure, the competitive ranking for Irish agriculture slipped relative to the other countries. It was found that the main reason for the relatively high economic costs on Irish farms was due to the high imputed land and labour costs. These findings could be considered as a warning signal for the future competitive performance for the average sized Irish farm. However, based on FADN data the competitive position of ‘larger’ Irish dairy farms (in the 50-99 dairy cow size category) did manage to maintain their competitive position within Europe even when total economic costs were considered. Hence, it could be concluded that part of the explanation of the deterioration of competitive ranking for the average Irish dairy farm when total economic costs are considered relates to the relatively low scale of primary agricultural activity in Ireland during this period.
    • Factors Shaping Expenditure on Food-Away-from-Home in Irish and UK Households

      Keelan, Conor; Henchion, Maeve; Newman, Carol; Downey, Gerard; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Teagasc, 01/10/2009)
      Factors influencing consumer spending in two sectors of the food-away-from-home (FAFH) market (quick-service e.g. takeaways, and full-service e.g. restaurants) were analysed using national household expenditure survey data. Different variables affect expenditure in the two sectors in different ways. Income has a greater effect on expenditure in the full-service sector than in the quick-service sector. Similarly households that are health-conscious indicate a greater preference for full-service meals while households which place more value on time (and therefore are more convenience-oriented) indicate a greater preference for quick-service. Households of a higher social class and those with higher education levels also appear to favour full-service expenditure. In addition, younger, urbanised households favour quickservice meal options. The results emphasise the merits of analysing different sectors within the FAFH market separately.
    • Factors shaping expenditure on meat and prepared meals

      Newman, Carol; Henchion, Maeve; Matthews, Alan (Teagasc, 2002-02)
      The factors shaping Irish households' expenditure decisions on meat and prepared meals are analysed using the two most recent datasets of the Irish Household Budget Survey (1987/8 and 1994/5). The motivation for the research stems from the changing pattern of food consumption, leading to a decline in the importance of price and income factors, and a simultaneous increase in the significance of socio-demographic factors, assumed to underpin consumers' tastes and preferences. Irish households' expenditure patterns on all meat, specific meat categories and prepared meals are analysed using tobit, double-hurdle and infrequency of purchase models.
    • Farm Facilities On Small - Medium Type Dairy Farms.

      Gleeson, David E (Teagasc, 2000-11-01)
      82 % of farms with milk quota < 54,552 litres have bucket/pipeline milking plants. • There were a high percentage of milking machine faults on the farms surveyed. • Fragmented land portions are more likely to limit dairy expansion than farm size. • 60% of farms had beef buildings suitable for conversion to dairy housing • 88 % of farms had adequate cubicle spaces for present cow numbers • The cost of purchasing milk quota was considered to be the biggest factor restricting expansion. • 67 % of farms with quota > 54,552 litres are joined REPS. • 51 % of farms had dairies registered under dairy hygiene regulations. • Milk bulk tank size would limit dairy expansion without investment in larger static tanks. • The number of cows to fill milk quota is better matched in the higher quota category. • The length of the working day was 12.7 hrs/day for an average herd size of 23 cows. • Estimated cost of extra facilities per farm to allow for scaling up in milk production from 90,920-181,840 litres is £33,760
    • Farm Forestry: Land Availability, Take-up Rates and Economics.

      Frawley, J.P.; Leavy, Anthony (Teagasc, 2001-02-01)
      Of the Member States in the European Union Ireland has the lowest proportion of land area covered by forest. Given the large surpluses of agricultural commodities and expected future increases in farm productivity, less land resources will be needed to produce EU food requirements. The Irish government has, therefore, adopted a target to plant 25,000 ha of new forest annually to the year 2000 and thereafter a target of 20,000 ha annually. Substantial incentives to promote afforestation are in place, but with the exception of 1995, the area of land planted has been considerably below target. The objectives of this study is to examine (i) the availability of land for afforestation, (ii) the factors which impede or promote the uptake of forestry and (iii) the relative economic returns from forestry in a farm context. The availability of land via the market has steadily diminished between 1990 and 1998. The area of agricultural land sold in the period fell from 33,282 ha to 8,656 ha, a fall of 74 per cent. At the same time average price increased from £3,964 per ha to £6,865, an increase of 72 per cent. Surveys of the opinions of landholders indicate that attitudes toward afforestation are becoming more positive in the 1990s. This is reflected in a substantial increase in the area of farm forestry during the decade. However, a survey of opinions of farmers who had already planted forestry indicated a perception that it is not a suitable replacement for conventional farm enterprises on `good' farmland. Land planted in 78 per cent of sites in this survey was previously utilised as either summer grazing or rough grazing. The principal motivation for planting was the favourable returns to forestry on land that had limited alternative use. The relative economic returns of forestry in comparison with farm enterprises such as dairying and cattle were assessed post CAP reform (2007), using linear programming techniques. Scenarios involved alternative uses of the farm resources such as extensive/intensive land use, forestry/no forestry and off farm job/no off farm job. The objective was to examine the profitability of forestry on farms in situations in which livestock enterprises qualified for REPS and extensification payments and in which off farm jobs were (a) not available and (b) available at different wage levels. Non economic considerations, such as the perceived unsuitability of forestry as a replacement for agricultural enterprises on `good' land and the irrevocability of the decision to plant forestry could, come into play. In order to reflect these non-economic considerations, together with the higher risk associated with investment by individuals, a high discount rate (10%) was used in calculating returns to forestry. The analysis shows that in situations in which off farm jobs are either not available or are available at a low wage level, extensification and REPS payments enable efficient livestock enterprises to compete with forestry. In these situations forestry is a profit maximiser only on farms which have surplus land, having first qualified for both extensification and REPS on existing livestock enterprises. However, the availability of off farm earnings at or near the industrial wage rate leads to increases in the forestry area, sometimes to the exclusion of cattle enterprises. Economic criteria therefore could mean that large areas of land could be transferred to forestry from conventional agriculture in the post 1999 CAP reform situation. Economics may not, however, be the most appropriate arbiter of such a decision.
    • Food choice and consumer concerns about animal welfare in Ireland

      Meehan, Hilary; Cowan, Cathal; McIntyre, Bridin; European Commission; CT98-3678 (Teagasc, 2002-04)
      Consumer concerns about farm animal welfare and the impact of these concerns on food choice in Ireland were investigated. The aim was to identify and analyse the nature and level of consumer concern. The qualitative and quantitative studies demonstrated that although consumers are concerned about farm animal welfare, this concern is not a priority in food choice. Consumers use animal welfare as an indicator of other product attributes such as food safety, quality and healthiness, which they usually perceive as more important. Consequently, consumers equate good animal welfare standards with good food standards.
    • Food Market studies in - meat packaging, nutritional meat products, speciality cheeses, extruded meats

      Cowan, Cathal; Meehan, Hilary; McIntyre, Bridin; Cronin, Tom (Teagasc, 2001-05)
      This project provided market information to researchers on the likely market success of their innovations in the following four areas: anoxic (oxygen free) packaging, developing new meat products with enhanced nutritional properties & consumer acceptability, speciality cheeses, and convenience meat products.
    • Food-related lifestyle (frl) segments and the speciality foods market in Great Britain

      Cowan, Cathal; Wycherley, Aoife; McCarthy, Mary (Teagasc, 2008-06)
      This report deals with the speciality food orientation of British consumers. Two approaches to segmentation were taken which were related to two project objectives. Firstly, to understand the degree to which food-related lifestyle (FRL) segments identified in Great Britain in 2003 (Buckley et al., 2003) are speciality orientated and secondly, to segment British consumers based on their speciality food orientation. This study provides an insight into what motivates individuals to purchase speciality foods.
    • Future Perspectives on Rural Areas.

      Commins, Patrick (Teagasc, 2001-02-01)
      The aim of this project was to project the potential impact of post-2000 economic and policy changes on Irish rural areas. It was intended originally to use a model-building approach in collaboration with the University of Missouri but this did not prove feasible. Instead, a possible scenario of future change for the rural economy was developed under four headings: • number of farms and the size of the farm labour force • agricultural structures • employment and enterprise • population and settlement. The scenario is based on assessment of current trends, on key assumptions about the future, and on the likely directions of relevant policies.
    • 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.