Some 346 inquiries were made into the Land Mobility Service, which was launched by Macra na Feirme last year.

It has helped 53 famers arrange long leases, family partnerships, contract rearing, non-share dairy farming and shared dairy farming partnerships.

The Land Mobility Service (LMS) was set up in November 2013 as a pilot programme in three pilot areas (centred around Kilkenny, Cork, and Roscommon) to determine if a specialised service would encourage collaborative farming and improve land mobility.

Research and studies had identified the need for an expert dedicated support service in this area.

Macra na Feirme, who spearheaded the initiative said it was needed because 25% of Irish farmers are over the age of 65 and only 6% are under 35.

Also, just 48% of full-time farmers aged over 50 have no identified farming successor. It also said that there is uncertainty within farm families as to the available options they have the impact of CAP on payments and tax.

The service has been operating as a support service for farmers and farm families whether looking at expansion, changing enterprise or stepping back.

The pilot phase has been helped by the co-ops in the catchment areas of the three co-ops supporting the service Glanbia, Dairygold and Aurivo.

The service works in tandem with Teagasc, using Teagasc developed models and templates, and supporting Teagasc clients. The service also supports farm organisations, farmers own advisors, and other farm services dealing with numerous referrals from the IFA and IFAC Accountants in particular.

The service is an independent honest broker representing the arrangement. The types of arrangements being facilitated include long leases, contract rearing, family partnerships, share milking, capitalised leases and other share arrangements. Grant aid of up to €2,500 per arrangement was provided by FBD Insurance.

According to Macra, the service has, during the course of 2014, exceeded all expectations in terms of delivery and uptake.

It also says that the indications are that from mid 2015 and into 2016 a great number of land owners will be looking at their options.