Independent Ireland is the third most popular party with farmers, the latest Irish Farmers Journal survey has revealed.

The party, only founded last November, would get 11% of farmers first preference votes if a general election was held next week.

This vote has not come at the expense of other independent candidates, whose support levels have held up at 22%, only down 1% compared to the last survey in December.

Sinn Féin’s support among farmers has collapsed, however. Its support level has fallen from 13% to 6%, its lowest rating for six years.

While Sinn Féin’s farming vote across a dozen or more polls has consistently run at much lower levels than its level of support in opinion polls taken among the general public, the Irish Farmers Journal polls have tracked a similar trajectory as the party’s support surged and is now falling, just as we approach the first national elections in four and a half years.

For Fine Gael, it’s steady as she goes, with support unchanged at 34%, well clear of any other party.

Fianna Fáil will be disappointed to see its level of support fall to 20%, its worst rating since 2011, in advance of that February’s disastrous general election for the party. That’s a 4% drop in support since December.

It’s bad news for the third Government party as well, with the Green Party at only 1%, but its support has consistently hovered at between 1% and 2% across these polls over 17 years.

Aontú is up to 3%, its highest ever rating among farmers, with People Before Profit and the Social Democrats on 1% each. Peadar Tóibín’s party may be gaining in part for its opposition to the two referendums that were resoundingly defeated right across the country in March.

However, it’s the remarkable showing by the party founded by Michael Collins and Richard O’Donoghue, and given momentum by the addition of Michael Fitzmaurice, that is the standout news of this latest survey.

Public recognition of this party is only widening now, as its 70-odd local election candidates go door-to-door across the country, and its three European election hopefuls gain airtime, if not screentime, nationally.

It may gain a larger share of that large cohort of voters currently favouring independents as they articulate their position on the wide range of issues concerning farmers and the wider rural community.