Farmer use of overdraft facilities with Bank of Ireland is at its lowest level in five years, with less than 15% of overdraft funds committed being used.
The bank told the Irish Farmers Journal that at the end of June, overdraft levels were 11% lower than at the end of June 2021 and almost a third lower than at the end of June 2019.
“When we look at deposit balances on Irish farms, they are 13% higher in June this year compared to a year ago and 35% higher compared to June 2020,” Eoin Lowry, head of agriculture at Bank of Ireland, said.
This, he said, is in line with Central Bank data, where overall debt levels on Irish farms are now one-third less than they were back in 2010.
Agri Assist, the new low-cost working capital support loan for farmers has seen “a strong number of enquiries and uptake,” since its launch in June, Lowry said.
The average loan size is €20,000, with a variable rate of 3.86%, he explained.
“We expect applications to ramp up in the autumn, as farm bills become due and farmers start to purchase winter feed, and fertiliser for the next season,” Lowry said.
Similarly, AIB said it has seen no significant increase in overdraft utilisation by farmers.
“While input costs have risen throughout the year, output prices in the main, with the exception of pigs, have remained relatively high and have somewhat offset the increasing costs,” Donal Whelton, head of agriculture at AIB, told the Irish Farmers Journal.
He said that many customers have funded capital expenditure by way of term loans rather than through working capital.
“In relation to the overdraft utilisation for the dairy sector compared to beef, in AIB we are seeing no significant increase in either sector,” Whelan added.