FARMING

Modest decline in land values in opening quarter

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Modest decline in land values in opening quarter

The first quarter of 2020 saw a modest fall in Irish agricultural land values after a relatively stable opening three months to the year.

As the end of the quarter coincided with the outbreak of Covid-19 and the subsequent implementation of a national lockdown, there was no evidence of a significant impact on values as March closed.

According to data from Sherry FitzGerald Research, the weighted average price of farmland in Ireland, excluding Dublin, was approximately €8,850 per acre at the end of the quarter.

There was only a marginal change in agricultural values evident after the first three months of 2020 with prices falling 0.6% in the quarter.

Carrying over from a challenging year in 2019, prices were down 4% in the twelve months to the end of March, with all regions in the country recording some reduction in values in the period.

In terms of the different farm types, prime arable land saw a 0.8% reduction in value in Q1 2020, while prime grassland values saw a milder fall of 0.2%.

However, after a tough twelve months, grassland values noted a larger reduction in the year to March, with prime grassland values down 5.2% in the period compared to 3.4% for prime arable land.

At the end of quarter one, the weighted average price of prime arable land in Ireland, excluding Dublin, was approximately €10,700 per acre and €9,900 for prime grassland.

Sentiment remained steady in the quarter. Anecdotally, agents noted that, for the most part, activity levels were broadly in line with last year, although a drop off was observed in the Mid-West and South-West.

Low supply levels were a common theme throughout the country with agents noting this as being a persistent issue for some time.