Demand from dairy farmers for land – to lease or buy – continues to be strong. Some need it for grazing milking cows, some for meeting Nitrates Regulations, some for both.
Two dairy farms have now become available to lease out, one in Co Clare, the other in Co Westmeath.
They are being handled Brady Group, based in Cork city. The main considerations here are the size of the grazing platforms, the milking facilities and slurry storage capacity.
The larger of the two is 126ac at Drummaan South, Whitegate, Co Clare. This is a relatively large holding for the area. There is decent farmland in the wider area.
The agents describe the land in question as excellent. All 126ac are within grazing distance of the milking parlour. Roadways, water and paddocks are in place. There is a public water supply. There are no entitlements. The farm was run as a liquid milk farm until 2007, supplying Kerry Co-op. It is near the collection routes of Aurivo and Arrabawn.
The eight-unit milking parlour is in place but it has no plant. The pit is wide and, the agents say, suited for doubling up. Original Cashman feeders are in place.
The yard has 70 cow cubicles, 18 weanling cubicles plus slatted cubicle accommodation. There are a range of loose cattle sheds, a calving house and machinery sheds.
There is roofed, slatted accommodation with slurry tanks as follows: two 83ft × 20ft × 5ft tanks; a 32ft × 30ft × 11.5ft × 8ft tank in an L-shape. There is a 71ft × 12ft × 7ft tank and a parlour/collection yard tank.
The landowners are proposing a lease of 10 years and two months commencing on 1 February 2022, running to 31 March 2031 and a price in the range of €250/ac to €325/ac. For payment terms, etc, see below.
This farm will be of wide interest to dairy farmers as a stand-alone dairy unit, given the size of the grazing platform. Bidders will value it differently, depending on their individual plans.
The second farm is 93ac at Clonbonny, Co Westmeath. This is 10km south of Athlone, not far from the M6 motorway. The holding is operating as a dairy farm, supplying Aurivo.
The land is described by the agents as excellent quality. Of the total, 74ac is within grazing distance of the milking parlour, the remaining 19ac is 1km away down a country road. There is a good layout of farm roadways and water from a bored well.
There is a 10-unit milking parlour – five doubled up – with scope to expand, Brady Group says. There are 59 cow cubicles, 24 weanling cubicles, a range cattle sheds, a calving house and machinery sheds.
A 10-year lease is proposed, to start on 1 November 2021 and to run to 31 October 2031. There are Basic Payment Scheme entitlements and these are to be paid back 100% to lessor. Their value is yet to be confirmed. The expected price is in the range €250/ac to €350/ac.
This farm will also be of interest to many dairy farmers. As a standalone dairy unit, the 74ac grazing platform is limited. The fact that cows are being milked there at present is a positive. The farm could suit for rearing young dairy stock.
A neighbouring dairy farmer in a position to bolt-on this farm could have big interest, depending on personal circumstances.
Lease payments for these farms are to be made monthly on the 20th of each month by standing order, commencing at the start of the lease. A review will be carried out after five years.
To protect the landowner, financial and technical vetting of lessees may be carried out by Brady Group. Applicants are asked to produce accounts for the three previous years plus a reference letter from their bank or accountant confirming their financial health. Applicants must also share ICBF and Milk Purchaser access codes. Confidentiality is assured.