• 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.
    • Opportunities in the Irish foodservice sector for small manufacturers

      O'Connell, Sinead; Henchion, Maeve; Collins, Alan (Teagasc, 2004-09)
      The foodservice sector offers significant opportunities for some small-scale food manufacturers. This research provides information to help them exploit this opportunity through a survey of 100 food buyers in the hotel sub-sector.
    • Physical Impact of Livestock on the Hill Environment.

      Walsh, Michael; Collins, J.F.; Guinan, L.; Clavin, D.J.; Nixon, D. (Teagasc, 2001-06-01)
      The overall objective of this work was to provide quantitative and objective information on the role of livestock on changes over time in vegetation and soils in the hill areas and to develop a suitable monitoring programme.
    • Policy Analysis for the Irish Agricultural Sector: The impact of a WTO Agreement on the Irish Agricultural Sector

      Donnellan, Trevor (Teagasc, 01/01/2007)
      Using dynamically recursive partial equilibrium models of Irish, EU and World agricultural commodity markets, research undertaken under projects 5158, 5159 and 5160 formed the basis of the empirically based policy analysis that the FAPRI-Ireland aggregate sector modelling team, based at Rural Economy Research Centre (RERC), has provided to Irish and EU agricultural policy makers. Under the three projects (5158, 5159 and 5160), which began in January 2003, numerous analyses of CAP reform proposals and agreements were undertaken. The full details of all of the analysis conducted are given below and are available from the FAPRI-Ireland website www.tnet.teagasc.ie/fapri). In this end of project report the most recent analysis, relating to the possible impact of the still on going Doha Round of WTO negotiations is presented relative to a Baseline under which current agricultural and trade policy is assumed to continue unchanged over a ten year horizon (2006 to 2015).
    • Policy Changes in the Crops Sector and Projections for Incomes and Costs in Agriculture

      McQuinn, Kieran; Behan, Jasmina (Teagasc, 2002-12-01)
      The research conducted under the projects 4821 and 4823 represents a continuation of project 4345, which has developed economic models of the Irish crops sector, agricultural inputs and incomes. These models are integrated within the FAPRI-Ireland model of the agricultural sector which is a joint undertaking between the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI)1 and Teagasc. The crops model links to other Irish commodity models and an Irish inputs model to generate an income figure for Irish agriculture which is then projected forward on a 10 year basis. In this research, the models were used to produce projections for the Irish crop sector, inputs and incomes for the period 2000-2010. These projections were generated under three policy scenarios. First, the models were run assuming that agricultural policy would remain unchanged throughout the projection period. Subsequently, these “baseline” projections were compared with projections generated assuming alternative policy scenarios. In 2001, the baseline was compared with the policy scenario of reduced or eliminated export subsidies. This scenario was designed to reflect possible changes in trade policy resulting from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Millennium Round negotiations. In 2002, the baseline projections (now modified to include the policy changes that occurred in 2001) were compared with projections under a policy scenario which included further extensification of livestock production. This scenario was designed as a second guess to the policy reform proposals under the Mid-Term review (MTR) of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which became available in July 20022. The general objective is to generate projections for the Irish: 1. crop sector 2. agricultural inputs 3. agricultural incomes. The projections are generated under the existing policy framework as well as under alternative policy scenarios. Subsequently, the quantitative effect of each scenario is then gauged. The crops, inputs and incomes models are components of the FAPRI-Ireland modelling system developed to generate projections and conduct policy analysis for the Irish agricultural sector. The modelling framework consists of a system of econometrically estimated equations and linkages between agricultural variables across commodity sectors. Through the collaboration with FAPRI, models are also linked with their EU and world agricultural models. Therefore, in generating projections the following is ensured: • the projections of agricultural outputs in Ireland are generated taking formal account of international market developments, and • the most relevant policy levers associated with the CAP are fully incorporated within the projections. In 2001, the projections for Irish crops, inputs and incomes were generated under two policy scenarios. First, it was assumed that there would be no change in agricultural policy over the projection period. Second, the analysis included the effect of both a reduction in export refund limits and an elimination of export refunds. Under the 2001 baseline, Irish grain prices are projected to decrease in nominal terms over the period 2000-2010. The value of wheat output is projected to increase, while the value of barley output is set to decrease. The demand for inputs is projected to decline reflecting the reduced intensity of agricultural production. In aggregate terms it is projected that there would be little change in overall agricultural income. An export subsidy reduction would lead to a decline in grain prices relative to the baseline. This reduction would be more pronounced if export refunds were eliminated. While, agricultural income is not largely affected by the reduction in export subsidies, the elimination of refunds, leads to the reduction of 20 percent in income relative to the baseline projections. In 2002, projections, covering the period 2001-2010, were generated for a revised baseline and a policy scenario which included further extensification of livestock production. In general, the revised baseline projections are not significantly different from the baseline 2001. The extensification of livestock production is projected to lead to a reduction in inputs consumed, including feed, energy and fertiliser application. Under this scenario the Irish agricultural income in 2010 increases relative to the baseline projection, primarily due to the increase in the extensification payments.
    • POLICY options

      Dunne, William; O'Connell, John J.; Shanahan, Ultan (Teagasc, 01/09/2009)
      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 animal-based direct payments (DPs) were used to compensate farmers for the anticipated market price reductions.
    • The potential role of environmental economics in Teagasc - A scoping excercise

      Hynes, Stephen (Teagasc, 2006-12-01)
      Environmental economics is a new area within the Teagasc vision programme. It is a distinct branch of economics that acknowledges the value of both the environment and economic activity and makes choices based on those values. The goal is to balance the economic activity and the environmental impacts by taking into account all the costs and benefits. The theories are designed to take into account pollution and natural resource depletion, which the current model of market systems fails to do. This (failure) needs to be addressed by correcting prices so they take into account "external" costs. The aim of this project was to look broadly at theses issues in relation to agriculture and natural resource usage in Ireland. In particular it focused on the role that this branch of economics may play in the research agenda of Teagasc in the future. The project was very short in duration (7 months) and was completed on-time (30th November 2006). The main objectives of this project were: (i) the production of a document outlining what environmental economics involves and the potential role of environmental economics within Teagasc (ii) the organisation of a meeting with leading environmental economists and representatives from environmental institutions in Ireland such as the EPA, SEI, MI and the DoE in order to discuss the potential role of Teagasc within the environmental economic research community in Ireland. Ultimately, this short project was designed to give line management and fellow staff members an overview of what is meant by the term Environmental Economics and what type of research agenda may develop within Teagasc under this heading. It was also intended that fellow staff members would have a chance to suggest and participate in new environmental economic projects in the future.
    • Presentations from the All Island Farm Safety Conference

      Gracey, Kenny; Meredith, David; McNamara, John G.; Dalton, Marie; Murray, Finian; Earley, Bernadette; Prendiville, Daniel J.; Mazurek, Mickael; Kennedy, Michael; Downey, Malcolm; et al. (Teagasc, 2008-06-18)
      An All Island Farm Safety Conference took place on Wednesday, 18 June 2008 at the Hillgrove Hotel, Old Armagh Road, Monaghan. The presentations from this conference will be of interest to farmers, agricultural contractors, and anyone with an interest in safety and health in agriculture. Each of the talk titles below is a link to the Microsoft PowerPoint presentation in PDF format
    • Projecting population and labour market trends in rural areas.

      Wiemers, Emily; Commins, Patrick; Pitts, Eamonn; Ballas, Dimitris; Clarke, Graham (Teagasc, 2002-12-01)
      This purpose of this project is to develop a spatial model to project population and labour market variables at the small area level in Ireland. The model is called SMILE (Simulation Model for the Irish Local Economy) and is a static and dynamic spatial microsimulation model. Microsimulation attempts to describe economic and social events by modelling the behaviour of individual agents such as persons or firms. Microsimulation models have proved useful in evaluating the impact of policy changes at the micro level. Spatial microsimulation models contain information on geographic units and allow for a regional or local approach to policy analysis. SMILE is based on modelling work on urban systems and employs similar techniques for analysing rural areas. The static model creates a spatially referenced synthetic population of Ireland. Each individual enumerated in the 1991 Census of Population is synthetically constructed and is assigned 11 census characteristics including a District Electoral Division (DED) location. The dynamic element incorporated in SMILE ages the synthetic population by modelling demographic processes including fertility, mortality and internal migration. The dynamic process is used to project population in the medium term; it ages the synthetic 1991 population to 1996. For validation purposes, these 1996 projections are then compared to the 1996 Census of Population. The same process was used to project between the 1996 and the 2002 Census of Population. The results indicate that the accuracy at DED and county level is within acceptable limits. The model will be extended in the next three years, beginning in 2003, with additions including validating individual attributes such as employment status and social class and also including households in the model. This project has created a basic model that can be expanded and developed in the future.
    • Projections of Agricultural Incomes.

      McQuinn, Kieran (Teagasc, 2001-06-01)
      This report documents work completed on the inputs and income component of the FAPRI-Ireland model, which has been operational for policy analysis since December 1998. The report will present the results of three major different policies analysed over this period. The model itself is decomposed into two primary constituents – the first is a model of aggregate Irish input consumption by agricultural producers and secondly the overall aggregate income figure for Irish agriculture. Output models have been constructed for dairy, livestock products and crops. The aim of the income model is to replicate line for line the Central Statistics Office (CSO) Agricultural Output, Input and Income table for a “baseline” result and for different policy scenarios.
    • Projections of Agricultural Land Use and the Consequent Environmental Implications

      Behan, Jasmina; McQuinn, Kieran (Teagasc, 2002-12-01)
      The research conducted under the project no. 4822 resulted in an extension of the FAPRI-Ireland econometric model of Irish agriculture, established by Rural Economy Research Centre, to include an environmental dimension. The original model was first extended by a forestry component. As a result, the standard output is now enhanced with the additional projections of agricultural land area allocated to forestry. In the next stage the model was developed to enable the conversion of standard agricultural and forestry output into environmental indicators associated with global warming. Therefore, the model currently provides projections of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration from Irish agriculture and forestry. The general objective is to generate projections of net greenhouse gas emissions from Irish agriculture. In order to achieve this objective we extend the existing model to generate projections of: 1. farmers’ uptake of forestry on farmland 2. carbon sequestration from on-farm forests 3. greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural activities.The forestry component was added to the existing FAPRI-Ireland modelling system. An econometric technique is used to model farmers’ forestry planting decision. The greenhouse gas emissions are calculated following the guidelines provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which have been adjusted for Irish specific conditions. Carbon sequestration levels are generated by applying a methodology developed by COFORD, Ireland. The projections were generated under two policy scenarios. First, it was assumed that there would be no change in agricultural or forestry policy over the projection period. Second, the assumption was made that policy measures are introduced to encourage further extensification of agricultural practices. If there was no policy change, the results suggest that afforestation on farmland would exceed 10,000 ha per annum; However the uptake would not, at any point, reach the level of planting recorded in 2001. As forests planted on farmland mature, carbon sequestration levels are projected to continuously increase in the coming years. On the other hand, greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture are expected to decline as a result of the projected contraction in the national cattle herd and sheep flock. If policy was reformed to include further extensification of livestock production, it is expected that less agricultural land would be allocated to forestry. The reduction in planting, however, would not be sufficient to significantly affect the carbon uptake levels projected under the no policy change scenario. However, further extensification would lead to further contraction in livestock numbers, which would result in more pronounced reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
    • The Promotion and Marketing of Qulaity Products from Disadvantaged Rual Areas.

      McDonagh, Perpetua; Commins, Patrick (Teagasc, 2000-11-01)
      The present study was part of a project co-funded under the EU’s Fifth Framework Programme. The project was concerned with 12 ‘lagging rural regions’ in six countries of the EU and, specifically, with the strategies, structure and policies used to support the successful marketing and promotion of quality products and services in these regions. Its aims were: – to identify current marketing strategies and promotional activities among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with special reference to the use of regional imagery in marketing quality products and services; – to explore consumer perceptions in relation to the purchase of quality products and services from specific lagging regions; – to identify the strategies and practices of the main institutional structures (e.g., local authorities, development agencies, marketing organisations) in supporting the marketing of quality products and services; – to bring forward ideas for the future development of regional quality products and services.
    • Quantification of risks associated with plant disease: the case of Karnal bunt of wheat.

      Thorne, Fiona; Brennan, J.; Kelly, P.W.; Kinsella, Anne (Teagasc, 2004-12-01)
      The aim of this study was to assess the economic impact of Tilletia indica, the cause of Karnal bunt of wheat (and triticale) in the EU. The methodologies used are relevant to estimating the costs of controlling other plant and animal diseases. The work was carried out as part of an EU funded research project.
    • A quantitative risk assessment of E.coli 0157:H7 in Irish minced beef

      Duffy, Geraldine; O'Brien, Stephen; Carney, Eimear; Butler, Francis; Cummins, Enda; Nally, Padraig; Mahon, Denise; Henchion, Maeve; Cowan, Cathal (Teagasc, 2005-02)
      A national quantitative risk assessment was undertaken for minced beef in the Republic of Ireland. The objective was to estimate the probability of E. coli O157:H7 infection from consumption of Irish beef and to investigate the parts of the beef chain contributing most to the risk posed by this pathogen.The quantitative risk assessment was broken into 3 main modules: 1) production of boxed beef trimmings; 2) processing of trimmings and burger formation and 3) retail/domestic consumption phase. Key points in each module (beef hide, beef trimmings and beef products at retail) were validated using data derived from microbiology sampling at beef abattoirs, supermarkets and butchers’ shops in Ireland.