One third of dairy farmers are actively hunting more land to lease this year.
A survey by the Irish Farmers Journal found that 34% of dairy farmers are currently seeking to lease additional land into the future.
Increased demand for land from dairy farmers due to tighter nitrates rules has resulted in a rise in rental prices this year.
Grazing ground for 2023 is generally making €350-450/ac, up €100/ac on 2022 prices. However, over €500/ac has been paid in exceptional cases.
Changes to the Nitrates Action Programme and the introduction of banding for dairy herds – which links a herd’s organic nitrogen rate per cow to its average milk yields – have contributed to the increased demand for land among dairy farmers.
Tellingly, the Irish Farmers Journal survey found that less than half the milk suppliers surveyed knew what nitrates band their herd falls into.
While 48% knew the banding for their herd, 40% said they had only some understanding of the new measure, while 12% had no understanding.
Of those who were aware of their herd’s banding, 18% were in the 80kg of organic N/ha/yr, 48% were in the 92kg of organic N/ha/yr, while 34% were in the 106kg of organic N/ha/yr band.
In terms of slurry storage, 77% of the dairy farmers surveyed said they had sufficient capacity, while 23% admitted that they did not.