‘40% of tillage crops sown under conacre contracts that benefit nobody’

Conacre renting of land has been the biggest plague on the Irish tillage sector, according to Teagasc’s Paddy Browne.

Speaking to Agriland recently, the Head of Teagasc’s Crops, Environment and Land Use Programme, said that incentives brought in to encourage the long-term leasing of land will be beneficial to both the land and the farmer.

According to Browne, up to 40% of all tillage crops grown in Ireland are produced under conacre agreements, which are in the interest of nobody.

Over 40% of the tillage crops in the country are grown under conacre. It is in the interest of nobody, whether it be the farmer or the land owner.

Browne added that the short-term renting of tillage ground can have a negative impact on the soil fertility.

“The farmer renting the land has no incentive to build up the fertility of the soil, so long-term leasing is the only way forward.”

According to the Teagasc, the taxation incentives will be a major positive for Irish agriculture as it will give tillage farmers an extended period of stability to manage the land correctly.

Harvest 2015

According to Teagasc’s Paddy Browne, tillage farmers have experienced a difficult year due to a relatively poor grain price.

However, despite the negativity regarding the prices achieved for crops in 2015, Browne said, farmers are planting away at the moment.

“We have a very resilient group of tillage farmers out there, who are planting away in the good planting conditions.”

According to Browne, the additional yields achieved in 2015 are the main reason that tillage farmers have the confidence to plant crops for harvesting in 2016.

“This year we had record yields, they were the best yields we ever had in the country. This is the only thing that is encouraging tillage farmers, it was another bad year for price, with green barley expected to make €135/t.”

The Teagasc Head of Crops, Environment and Land Use Programme added that these low prices are unsustainable.

“These prices are not sustainable and farmers are eating into their single farm payments when they are getting that kind of price.”

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