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Double-digit growth in price of farmland in 2023

The most expensive average price for farmland in the country last year was in Co Waterford, where the best quality land cost €20,000 per acre, a new report has shown.

According to figures from the Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland (SCSI) and Teagasc, the lowest price paid for farmland was in Co Mayo, where low quality land cost €2,733 per acre.

Last year, there was double-digit growth in the price of farmland in Ireland, increasing 11% on 2022.

This year, auctioneers and valuer members of the SCSI forecast the price of land will still rise, but at a much lower rate of 6%.

The average price of good land in Ireland in 2023 was €12,308 per acre.

The second-most expensive county for land behind Co Waterford was Co Tipperary, where prices averaged €17,599 per acre.

The average price for poor quality land last year was €6,286.

The figures are contained in the SCSI/Teagasc Agricultural Land Market Review and Outlook report for 2024.

Rental land prices rise

The report also examined rental land prices which varied widely from county to county, but rose 5% overall in 2023 compared with the previous year.

This year, the report forecasts that land rental prices will rise a further 4%, mainly on the back of improving milk prices being paid to dairy farmers and ongoing demands from other farmers and investors.

The report also noted how income from land leased for solar or wind energy is typically higher than income from conventional farming operations.

It estimated that 2,000 hectares, or 4,900 acres, of land will be needed for wind and 16,000 hectares, or 40,000 acres, for solar energy by 2030 if Ireland is to meet its national targets for wind and solar energy generation.

The report stated that 300,000 acres of land, or around 3% of agricultural land, will be required to grow grass to feed energy generating biomethane plants by 2030.

Under the Climate Action Plan, 150-to-200 such plants will be required in the country.

The report also found that very low amounts of agricultural land are put up for sale in any given year, amounting to just 0.5% of the total.

It added that is one of the main reasons for strong rental demand for land.

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