Essential Things to Know about Farming in Ireland
Agriculture claims plenty of Ireland’s land, with 4.5 million of the total area dedicated to farming. More than 6.9 million hectares are reserved for crop growing. In other words, Ireland is quite an agricultural powerhouse.
With 64.31% of the country constituting agricultural land and forestry taking up another 730,000 hectares. The majority of the farming happens in the east, however, but it’s not unheard of for the western part of the country to produce crops. These crops might include but are not limited to, oats and potatoes, which do really well there. However, Irish farms aren’t as big as would typically be the case in the US, with farms often choosing to stay quite small.
Here’s what else you might find useful to know about farming in Ireland:
How much does land cost in Ireland?
In 2016, the price of land per acre was $9,600, but it has since risen by about 3% to reach a cost of $9,888.
Land prices have been on the upward trend for the past couple of years. Findings by the Farmers Journal indicate that they’ll only get higher. The report cites the primary reason for the increase to be the escalating competition in the country as more people invest in land for entrepreneurial opportunities beyond agriculture.
How is soil quality?
Ireland is split into 26 counties.
Those in the southern and eastern parts of the country tend to have more level land and better soil quality. That is why dairying and tillage tend to be popular in those areas. On the other hand, northern and western counties are better for raising beef cattle, and sheep rearing.
As a result, farms in the latter counties tend to be larger than those on the opposing ends.
What Crops do well in Ireland?
Sugar beets, potatoes, oats, wheat, and barley are the main crops that Irish farmers grow.
Most of the land in Ireland also favor livestock farming thanks to a combination of climatic and soil conditions. That means grass does better than arable crops in those regions. Pig, horse, and sheep farms are quite popular too. As dairy products are one of the primary economic exports of Ireland, dairy farming is an essential part of Irish culture.
The explosion of the livestock industry has also been due to a sharp increase in the need for such commodities across Europe and particularly Britain.
Demand grows higher by the day, and the country continues to work overtime to meet vast export demand. Coupled with favorable prices set by the European Union, Ireland is experiencing its best agricultural era in two decades.
Additionally, it exports about 470,000 tons of the beef it produces, retaining only 50,000 tons of the total for domestic consumption. More surprising, meat or agricultural products, in general, are not the country’s top earners. Instead, pharmaceuticals are taking the top spot.
Is farming in Ireland profitable?
The agri-food industry provides thousands of jobs, 174,000 to be exact, which make up close to 8% of the country’s entire labor force.
On average, a farming family in Ireland makes north of $34,000. Dairy farmers usually do a lot better due to the high demand for milk within and outside of the country, making an annual average in the region of $56,000.
That figure is only about $3,000 less than the median household income reported by the US Census Bureau.