Farmers in the south Tipperary region are reportedly being priced out of buying land by Coolmore Stud and land is understood to be changing hands having not being disclosed for sale.
The issue has led to huge frustration amongst farmers in the area and Coolmore is understood to have accumulated a portfolio of up to 20,000ac.
A special radio show on the issue on Tipp Mid West Radio recently saw a local auctioneer and Independent TD Mattie McGrath discuss the issue.
Coolmore was invited to come on the show, and were contacted a number of times by Tipp Mid West Radio however, they declined to have a representative speak on its behalf.
Local auctioneer from Clonmel, Tom Pollard, is familiar with the movement of lands in the area and confirmed that a lot of land in the area is sold off market.
“Coolmore have bought land in the south Tipperary vicinity – the thoroughbred business is very good at the moment and the bloodstock people are buying land.
They put a good floor on the market and from a sellers [often farmers] point of view, they’ve worked the land all their lives they’re entitled to get a fair price for it.
Pollard said that land values have remained pretty stable in south Tipperary, with an acre selling for in the region of €12,000-13,000 – depending on the quality of land and what’s included. He also said values in the area are less than land values in Cork, Kilkenny and Meath.
“There’s been a good lot of [land buying] activity in Tipperary in 2015 and 2016. Relative to other years it’s been greater, coming out of the recession people wanted to make changes and sell land.
Pollard said that his brief as an auctioneer is for the seller and for to get the best price he can for them.
“I’ve had two particular clients who asked me to negotiate directly with Coolmore to see if I could do a deal. When you get a deal done, you get a contract signed, a deposit is put down and it’s paid for very quick.
“They’re cash buyers at the moment and this is what sellers want – they need to get a deal done.
“Coolmore have taken small plots and reasonably big plots, they spend a lot of money on the land when they buy it. One thing with Coolmore is that they develop their land.”
When asked was there an element of frustration building in the farming community that farmers aren’t able to compete with Coolmore, Pollard said that he is aware of it and understands where they’re coming from.
But, he said that most farmers are never ready to go with a sale, they are reliant on getting money together [whereas Coolmore are ready to go there and then].
The farming scene isn’t a bright as it was, tillage is not making its money this year, the dairy men who have expanded and developed are having a rough time, beef prices are low.
“It’s the bloodstock industry now, it was the dairymen a couple of years ago.”
The Clonmel auctioneer said that there’s a lot of people in the bloodstock industry and that it could expand more, that if there’s money coming in they’ll spend it.
The advice he had for farmers in the region who find themselves competing with Coolmore is that if they really need and want the to land go and talk to someone in Coolmore.
“See if they’re willing to talk to you – maybe there’s a way to negotiate,” he said.
However, frustrated farmers who got in contact with the show said that Coolmore snapping up the land is a “disgrace” and that the “small and ordinary farmers are suffering”.
Another listener to the show said that they went into Coolmore to negotiate buying land in the area and he got laughed at.
Meanwhile, Independent TD Mattie McGrath was also speaking on the show who said that the situation now is nothing to do with boosting Ireland’s equine industry.
It’s just a mass amalgamation of land and it’s interfering with the market. Farm families are suffering.
“We need something to ensure that when land comes on sale that there’s a fair share of the cake.There has to be a fair degree of equity for young farmers and families to survive.
“Lots of farmers know that its difficult to get a loan due to difficulties in agriculture, but it takes too much time, others who have the cash could have the land gobbled up and its gone before you blink twice.”