Less than 50% of tillage farmers in the country carry debt, according to the head of agriculture at Bank of Ireland Eoin Lowry.

He was speaking at Dairygold’s annual tillage conference on Friday 12 January.

He explained that about 42% carry debt and that this low figure makes Irish tillage farmers much less exposed to risk in years of price volatility.

He added that tillage farmers will not have to struggle massively with repayments in years where price falls.

However, Eoin did add that sometimes it makes good business sense to have debt over a long period of time to protect working capital.


He cautioned farmers against getting bigger to make more money.

“Our advice is to get better first and then get bigger. Focus on yield. It’s the number one driver of profit,” Eoin commented.

He encouraged farmers to use technology and improve their management system, while noting challenges to continue to achieve top yields, such as extreme weather events, pesticide regulations and ambitions to cut fertiliser use.

However, Eoin was still positive for the sector, noting that grain prices have moved to a higher level and that there is a shortage of Irish grain.

“2024 looks promising. Over time, I think farmgate prices will increase,” he concluded.