The latest Sherry FitzGerald Agricultural Land Price Index showed that diversity in the agricultural land market is clearly evident in the quality and location of land at present with these factors being two key indicators of prices realised.

While growth in marginal grassland values was not as strong as the other farmland types in the first half of 2014, performance in the second quarter was stronger than the other land types. The average value of marginal grassland in the second quarter of the year stood at approximately €6,700, marginally ahead of the first quarter, while it increased by a modest 1.1% in the six month period.

Sherry FitzGerald says the stabilisation in the value of marginal grassland can be attributable to demand being primarily focussed on land at the top end of the market, while land of lesser quality is largely being purchased by farmers looking to expand, provided this parcel is in the right location. This is being evidenced by land values remaining stable in the second quarter in almost all regions, with the exception of the Mid-East region which declined by 1.9% in the six month period.

That said, improvements in the residential market and the changing profile of buyers are both factors which can influence an uplift in marginal grassland pricing for the remainder of the year.