Dairy farmers are still borrowing to invest in their businesses, despite falling milk prices, but the level of activity has dropped in the sector, according to business banking manager at Permanent TSB, Maurice Fitzpatrick.

“Farmers are still investing, but probably not at the same level. There is a bit of a slowdown on the dairy side in terms of incomes and that is obvious with the price drops there.

“But we are still ahead of 2020/2021 on milk prices,” Fitzpatrick told the Irish Farmers Journal.

He said that PTSB is now looking to grow its footprint in the agri-food sector, having grown its farmer customer base when acquiring some of Ulster Bank’s former loan book.

“We acquired assets from Ulster Bank late last year and we brought them across earlier this year, so that has given us some scale and size in the agri-side.”

Fitzpatrick also warned that farmers should factor a potential tightening of environmental rules into their business planning, such as a possible cut to nitrates derogation stocking rates.