More than one eighth of farmers are renting or leasing more land now than they were a year ago, according to the results of the latest Irish Farmers Journal’s survey.

This figure is highest in the dairy sector, with 27% reporting to have taken on additional land in 2023.

The survey found that only 12% of tillage farmers have more rented or leased land this year, dropping to 8% for suckler farmers and 9% for sheep farmers.

Heated dairy demand for land comes on the back of new nitrates rules introduced by the Department of Agriculture in 2023.

New cow banding rules mean that high yielding herds must increase their land base if they are to maintain numbers, on top of a 10% reduction to derogation farms’ maximum bag nitrogen allowance introduced in January.

Some 24% of farmers are paying between €201/ac and €250/ac for land, while 19% are paying €241-300/ac and 9% are saying it is costing them €301-350/ac.

Another third of farmers reported to be paying between €100/ac and €200/ac. Only 15% of farmers who said they took extra ground reported to be paying over €350/ac for it.