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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘Dairy farmers have been very prevalent in auction rooms’ – Crosse on ‘white gold’s’ power

Despite the trials and tribulations of the Covid-19 pandemic, increased interest rates and the resulting implications of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, and milk and beef price volatility, the land market in Ireland has been “very resilient and robust” over the past twelve months.

That is according to Tom Crosse, who officiated as the moderator of IPAV’s recent webinar, which coincides with the launch of its newest publication entitled Farming Report January 2023.

Crosse, group property director of GVM Auctioneers, commented that “the fundamentals of farming must be right to support an overall buoyant land market”.

“Most of us that deal with land would see 2022 as the best in the past twenty in terms of the volume of land sold and the amount of acreage that went through our system.”

“I think we have all seen, and experienced investors and business people come and go out of the market, but we really want farmers to be the in-buyers wherever possible.”

Mid-west land values

Based on his experience as a selling agent, in the mid-west region, across Limerick, Tipperary and parts of Clare, the market has been “very buoyant”, as prices have reportedly been “very high and very strong”, a sediment driven predominantly by dairy farmers.

Crosse added: “They now refer to milk as white gold, and that has been hugely influential in terms of bringing buyers to the market.”

“Dairy farmers have been very prevalent in auction rooms all over the country. I think 0% interest rates also pushed many in the business community into buying land for hobby farming, or they see land as a very safe investment.”

“Beef farmers also had a very good year in 2022, which has also strengthened their hand when it comes to bidding for local land holdings.”

“From our point of view, in Munster in particular, we saw an increase of 113% in the amount of land being sold, which is a phenomenal increase in terms of the amount of land that went to the market.”

“Around the country, the prices being paid for grassland are phenomenal. I know in Limerick, last week, we sold some grazing for around €400/acre, but I am also hearing €520-€530/acre.”

“There is very strong demand for grazing land, driven by the demand for increased acreage because of nitrates, for example.”

“Meanwhile, I think everyone will agree that generally, demand for forestry is strong, with up to €7,000/acre being achieved in many parts of the country,” he concluded.

Auction systems

According to Crosse, in terms of auctions, values across the Munster region saw an average price per acre of €16,175, which sits above the national average of a reported circa €15,000/acre.

He outlined how the volume of land sold through auction was up by 48% across the country.

“As agents, we are using different systems, private treaty systems, auctions and online platforms such as Offr and LSL Auctions.”

“I think all these extra versions of the auction systems are contributing to an enhanced market as it makes it easier for people to bid,” he concluded.

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