Grassland for letting in the Limerick/Tipperary area is making between €150 and €300/ac,” according to Tipperary town-based auctioneer Noel Corcoran.

“In most cases the land is available for both cutting and grazing. Prices are wholly dependent on the quality of land offered. We are also seeing a number of five-year rental options coming on to the market this spring,” he said.

“Half of these are being made available with entitlements. There is a strong demand from new, young farmers for this type of land parcel.”

Corcoran confirmed that both lessors and auctioneers are very aware of the cash flow restraints on farmers at the present time.

“In our own case we are happy to take one third payment up front with two accompanying post-dated cheques for the land taken. The dates on the cheques tie in with those periods when cash flows best suit the requirement s of the leasee,” he said.

“But the key dynamic in the relationship between lessors and leasees is evidence of a strong record on the part of the farmer to pay his bills regularly and not to damage land that is taken. Given these circumstances we are seeing the development of long-term relationships involving both parties with the sitting tenant getting first refusal on the following year’s rental option.

“The days of auctioneers hosting letting auctions are now a thing of the past.”

Corcoran admitted that the issue of how best to manage single payment entitlements has become extremely complicated.

“We are also seeing regular changes to the income tax regulations relating to land payments and rental incomes. Given these circumstances we are strongly advising landowners to talk these matters over with an agricultural consultant or someone who is dealing with these matters on a daily basis.”