The price of agricultural land fell by 21% last year, with Co Limerick seeing the biggest reduction.

A new 26-county survey in the current issue of the Irish Farmers Journal, shows that the national average price for farmland in 2008 was €15,800 an acre.

This was a drop of 4,300 an acre or 21% on the previous year.

The biggest fall, 41%, was in Limerick, followed closely by Galway on 40% and Sligo with a 39% drop in prices.

The cost of an acre in Leinster was €19,500; in Connacht it was €10,500.

The author of the report, Shirley Busteed, said the main reason for the fall in land prices was that speculators have stopped buying.

It is now a farmers market, she said, and they are not willing to pay as much.