The annual SCSI/Teagasc Agricultural Land Market Review & Outlook has found that regional variation has an influence on land value, farm profitability as well as agricultural practises.
Although there are no radical differences in climatic and agronomic conditions across Ireland, there are differences in the prevalence and economic importance of the various agricultural production systems between regions.
The annual Review & Outlook has found that specialised beef production accounts for 40% of all farms.
The highest proportion of beef farmers are found in the Midlands (69%), while the lowest are found in the South East (42%).
The report also found that the regional importance of dairy and tillage varies substantially. In the South West (Cork and Kerry), close to 25% of all farms are specialist dairy farms, whereas in the West (Galway, Mayo and Roscommon) less than 3% of farms are specialist dairy farms.
The prevalence of dairying was found to be highest in the South-West, Mid-West and South-East regions, where milk production is the largest sector in terms of the value of outputs.
Specialist tillage farms account for a little over 3% of farms nationally, but in the South East Region almost 10% of farms are specialist tillage farms.
Specialist tillage farms also represented 11% of farms in the Mid-East and Dublin region.
The report suggests that dairying is the most profitable Irish farming system, as dairy farmers derive most of their farm income directly from the margin of their farm business while receiving a smaller share of their farm income in the form of subsidies.
The differences between regions in terms of agricultural activity are reflected in both the supply and demand of agricultural land for sale and rent.
Munster recorded the biggest yearly fall in selling price at 9%, while selling prices fell 6% in Leinster and just 1% in Connacht/Ulster last year.
The review states that the variation of activity in different areas are as a result of the underlying soil and physical characteristics as well as farm size, human capital, age of the farm operator, the presence of off-farm employment and access to finance, also being factors of significance.