The price of steel in cases has increased by 100% since August 2020, a manufacturer of agricultural buildings told Agriland.

Agriculture sheeting has also witnessed a 100% increase since autumn of 2020, and timber by 85%.

The rise in building costs since 2020 has been well documented, but it appears that the continuation in rising costs of materials has meant that many farmers are now putting off doing any work until costs start to reverse – except for the few that simply have no other choice but to build, but these are also getting fewer and fewer.

Speaking to Agriland about the building situation currently and also putting some figures on the increase of materials seen since 2020, the manufacturer of agriculture sheds, based in Meath said: “Business has gone very quiet.

“Many farmers are putting off jobs now and you can’t blame them with the price of building materials now. It’s chronic.

“I’ll give you an example of how much prices have been increasing in the matter of a few weeks: I ordered steel on February 28, for a job, and it was costing €1,250t that time.

“The same beams when I went back on March 16, about two and a half weeks later, were costing €1,570/t.

“I haven’t priced any beams this week or last week, it’s just crazy. That’s steel beams now, the steel-IPE’s, which are a bit cheaper, have gone up about €100/tonne as well.

“The figures going around that steel has increased by 50-60%, that’s well wide of the mark,” the manufacturer continued.

“Back in September 2020, you could by a tonne of steel beams for €600-650 tonne, now your talking up over €1,550 tonne, that’s more than a 100% increase.

“Timber prices have evened off, but your still taking 6×3 4.8m long standard timber costing €25 now.

“Sheeting hasn’t gone up, yet, but I say yet; it is getting ready for another price increase in the next month I’d say. At the moment, sheeting used on agriculture buildings is costing €15/m which is up €7.50/m from August of 2020.

“At those prices, you can’t blame farmers for not building and to be honest, if I was in their shoes, I wouldn’t go building either.”

Below, is a breakdown of the rise in costs of building materials from August 2020 to March 2022, that the Meath-based shed manufacturer put together for Agriland.

  • Steel-IPE’s were €620/t and are now €1,100/t;
  • Steel-Beams were €670/t and are now €1,480/t;
  • 6×3 4.8m long standard timbers were €13.50 and are now €25 (but were €28 a length late last year);
  • Agriculture sheeting was €7.50/m and is now approximately €15/m.

Also included in the figures were that a standard 3-bay 47x30x12 a-frame shed was €5,650 plus VAT in autumn of 2020 and is now €8,750 plus VAT, and that a 12-bay galvanised milking parlour and cubicle shed cost €76,500 plus VAT in 2020 and the same shed today would cost €110,000 plus VAT.

‘TAMS II not even worthwhile anymore’

Speaking about the grants available to farmers to help construct new buildings on farms, the Meath-based manufacturer said that they are now as good as worthless with the way costs have increased.

“The Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS II) is now worthless with the way prices are gone,” said the manufacturer.

“Even before all these prices increased, it used to pay you when you would be getting a 60% grant. It wouldn’t pay you if you were getting a 40% grant across the whole project, it would maybe for the concrete or tanks, but for the overall job, no it wouldn’t.

“You’d want to be getting the 60% grant and even now if your getting 60%, it isn’t worth your while I think.

“I was talking to a farmer I know who is gathering all his receipts and getting all he needs ready to get his TAMS II grant approved and claim back the money.

“He was telling me that, with all the increases in building materials costs that he incurred while building the shed, that he will be getting a grant worth 38% rather than the 60% he was eligible for and it wasn’t even a big shed.

“It was standard 4-bay shed with a lean to and a creep area at the back and an overhang over the feed area, but because of the increase in costs, it has just wiped away the worth of the grant.

“Like I said, I don’t blame anyone that’s not going ahead with a build. Even the farmers that need to build or had no choice but to build a shed, are getting fewer because with the rise in costs across the board, whether it be fuel, fertiliser or feed, it’s just not possible or feasible to do now.”