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Beef farmers accessed the most Credit Union loans in 2019

Cultivate, an initiative of a group of Credit Unions, provides short to medium-term loan opportunities, built specifically around the growing needs of their farming members.

The average Cultivate loan application in 2019 was for €23,554, given to a farmer over 5.5 years, who owned a farm of circa 36 hectares and had €110,151 debt on their farm.

Year in review

Beef farmers accessed the most Cultivate loans in 2019 (64%), according to the review, with dairy farmers in second (26%). These loans were mostly used for stocking, working capital and farm buildings.

Farm buildings, equipment and land improvement account for 56% of the use of funds for dairy farmers. For beef farmers, it is only 37%. This shows a different emphasis on-farm development. Stocking loans and working capital account for a larger proportion of beef farmer requirements.

Cultivate say that this highlights the challenge of cash flow on many suckler and beef enterprises, with many suckler beef businesses receiving most of their income in the last quarter of the year.

How do the dairy and beef sectors compare?

Through working with farmers, Cultivate has found some significant differences between the two enterprises:

  • The average loan to a dairy farmer was €27,873 in 2019, in comparison to €21,767 for a beef farmer.
  • Dairy farmers were bigger landowners than beef farmers, with average owned holdings of 43 HA in comparison to 33 HA for beef farmers.
  • Dairy farms had more debt, with the average debt on a dairy farm being 77% higher at €159,377 versus €90,234.
  • 90% of beef farmers have off-farm income as opposed to 67% of dairy farmers.

What the farmers say

“I decided to put an extension on to my existing shed for calving. In no time at all, I was approved. Life is much easier on the farm now since I got my Cultivate loan,” says beef farmer Paul Crowe.

John Finucane, a dairy farmer, said “We wanted to put in a new bulk tank and extend the cubicle shed. I found working with Cultivate very easy. They suited the way I wanted to repay the loan over the summer months.”

Further information

To find your nearest participant Credit Union or to enquire about a Cultivate loan, click here.

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