• 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.
    • Measuring the Competitiveness of Irish Agriculture (1996-2000)

      Thorne, Fiona (Teagasc, 2004-02-01)
      This research project was initiated in direct response to a specific recommendation from the report of the 2010 Committee (DAFRD, 2000) which found that there was insufficient work and data in the area of competitiveness. Ensuing from this, three separate pieces of research were undertaken. Alan Matthews and Carol Newman, Trinity College, carried out an assessment of the productivity growth in Irish agriculture from 1984 to 2000. Proferssor Gerry Boyle, NUI Maynooth, updated previous work carried out in the early 1990’s on cost based and partial productivity based indicators of competitiveness. In addition, Rural Economy Research Centre, Teagasc, responded to the recommendation from the committee for ‘the collection and publication on a regular basis of key competitiveness indicators, with appropriate international comparisons” (DAFRD, 2000, p.40). Appropriate indicators of competitiveness were identified and calculated for the years 1996 to 2000. These indicators provide a baseline upon which competitiveness of Irish agriculture can be examined on a regular basis.Phase I of this project investigated alternative indicators for measuring the competitiveness of the agricultural and food sectors, which meet the requirements of the theory of competitiveness and for which relevant data could be collected on an annual basis. Profitability was selected as a measure of competitive performance and costs of production, value of output and partial productivity indicators were examined as possible sources (potential) of competitive performance. In addition to performance and potential, the competitive process is often referred to in studies of competitiveness, the mechanism whereby competitive potential is translated into competitive performance. However, the majority of these measures are qualitative in nature and consequently were not considered for the purposes of this research whereby appropriate quantitative indicators of competitiveness are to be identified. The Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) was the primary source of data used in this analysis.
    • Measuring the Returns to Agricultural and Food Research and Development in Ireland: An Ex Ante Case Study

      Brew, Mary; Hanrahan, Kevin (Teagasc, 2004-01-01)
      Research provides many of the innovations that are essential to Irish agriculture’s ability to sustain and expand economic growth and maintain competitiveness. The agricultural and food research agenda in Ireland and internationally has broadened beyond seeking to just augment conventional productivity and now seeks to provide the means of enhancing the agri-food sector’s competitiveness by improving the quality of inputs and outputs, the efficiency of production systems and the development of new products. Recently there has been an increased emphasis on developing Ireland as a ‘knowledge based society’ and most recently Ireland and more specifically the Irish agri-food sector’s development as a “knowledge base bio-economy” has been advocated (Teagasc, 2008). With science, technology and innovation now a major focus of Irish public policy, Ireland is committed to increasing research spending to 3 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per annum by 2011. Accompanying this greater emphasis on the importance of research there has been significant injections of public funds into the public research systems. With increased funding arise questions of accountability, i.e. how to prioritise expenditure and measure and evaluate the outcomes of research projects. This project sets out to address what we identified as a key gap in the Irish literature - the evaluation of returns to agriculture and food research that improves the quality of a product, what we have termed demand lifting research. The project sought to address this by evaluating, as a case study, the impact of agricultural research that improves the quality of Irish lamb. If consumers are willing to pay higher prices for what they believe to be a better quality or healthier product then an evaluation of the returns to demand lifting research should be incorporated into the general assessment of the benefits that flow from investment in agricultural and food research. To date the focus of the evaluation of research benefits in Ireland has been on the returns to supply shifting research (that is to cost reducing research). In general agricultural economists have to date avoided jointly modelling technological improvement and associated changes in product quality. The key features of the comparative static partial equilibrium model developed in this project are linear supply and demand function specifications, parallel shifts of supply and demand schedules, and the use of the economic surplus methodology to evaluate the costs and benefits of innovations. With the model developed, and using the economic surplus methodology, we can allocate costs and benefits of demand lifting research between producers and consumers. We use the comparative static partial equilibrium model developed in this project to provide an assessment of the gains to Irish producers and Irish consumers of research that leads to a quality improvement in lamb. This evaluation has been based on a set of assumptions regarding, functional form, elasticity of demand and supply, and the nature of the demand and supply shift related to the demand lifting research innovation. A series of scenarios were analysed and the results used to assess the impact of demand shifting sheep research. In the first scenario the research based improvement in the quality of Irish lamb was assumed not to be associated with associated any change in the costs of production; in the second scenario the assumed increase in production cost equalled the per kilo premium associated with the improved quality of the lamb produced product. In the third scenario the increase in costs of production were assumed to equal 50% of the premium resulting from the improvement in product quality. For the purpose of this study the first two scenarios analysed set the upper and lower bounds for the change in economic surplus in the Irish lamb market, we consider the third scenario to be a conservative estimate of the returns to research. In this third scenario the innovations leading to higher quality lamb leads to a gain in economic surplus of €6.405 million per annum. Given that a large proportion of the improvements in quality will flow from improved genetics it is sensible to consider the surplus as a permanent addition and thus to consider the discounted present value of the additional economic surplus that is attributable to the research induced improvement in lamb quality. The present value of the total sum of benefits over a period of 20 years was estimated to be €79.8205 million.It was, not possible to estimate the costs involved in research that can be specifically linked to improving the quality of lamb, as this research is not a stand alone project and would have evolved over many years from work at the research centre in Athenry (and earlier work at Belclare). The values for the gains in total economic surplus and the present value of the future stream of benefits from such research can be interpreted as the maximum amount that should be spent in order to achieve the quality improvement.
    • Modelling the Effect of Policy Reform on Structural Change in Irish Farming

      Hennessy, Thia (Teagasc, 01/07/2007)
      The Mid Term Review (MTR) of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has allowed for the decoupling of all direct payments from production from 2005 onwards; until then, most direct payments were coupled to production, requiring farmers to produce specific products in order to claim support. After decoupling, farmers will receive a payment regardless of production as long as their farm land is maintained in accordance with good agricultural practices. Direct payments to farmers have been an integral part of the CAP since the 1992 Mac Sharry reforms. Throughout the 1990s, market prices for farm produce have declined generally in line with policy while costs of production have continued to increase. Meanwhile, direct payments increased in value, increasing farmers’ reliance on this source of income. Furthermore, farmers adapted farming practices to maximise their receipt of direct payments, leading to the culture of ‘farming the subsidy’. By 1997, on cattle and tillage farms in Ireland 100 per cent of family farm income was derived from direct payments, meaning that on average the market-based revenue was insufficient to cover total costs.
    • A New Direction for the Payment of Milk: Technological and Seasonality Considerations in Multiple Component Milk Pricing of Milk (Liquid and Manufacturing) for a Diversifying Dairy Industry

      Breen, J.; Wallace, Michael; Crosse, Seamus; O'Callaghan, Donal (Teagasc, 01/01/2007)
      The main objectives of this study were to compare a Multiple Component Pricing system with the current milk pricing practice in Ireland and to estimate the marginal values of the three main milk components (fat, protein and lactose) in the context of the Irish milk processing industry. A representative linear programming model of an average Irish milk processor was developed in order to determine the marginal values of the milk components and to compare the value of milk under the Multiple Component Pricing system with the value under the current milk pricing practice. This study also examined the effect of product mix, milk supply and milk composition on the marginal value of the milk components.
    • New Product Development Opportunities for Irish Companies in the British Cheese Market

      Cowan, Cathal; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 01/11/2008)
      The primary objective of this research was to identify innovative cheese concepts appropriate for UK consumers and suitable for Irish industry to manufacture. It also aimed to identify personal, situational and market factors that influence consumers when purchasing cheese. This research study used existing market literature, in-depth interviews and consumer focus groups.
    • New product development opportunities for Irish companies in the British cheese market

      Cowan, Cathal; Downey, Gerard; Irish Dairy Levy Research Trust (Teagasc, 2008-11)
      The primary objective of this research was to identify innovative cheese concepts appropriate for UK consumers and suitable for Irish industry to manufacture. It also aimed to identify personal, situational and market factors that influence consumers when purchasing cheese. This research study used existing market literature, in-depth interviews and consumer focus groups.