Research has found that 48% of farmers surveyed in Ireland do not have an identified successor to ownership of their land.

A total of 29% of respondents said the main reason they had no successor was because they had no children, 24% said they had not decided on which child to transfer to, and 20% said no family member was interested in taking over.

The report also found that two-thirds of respondents said it was important for the farm to stay in family ownership.

Macra na Feirme National President Alan Jagoe has said farmers must make better long-term plans for the future of their holding.

Older farmers need to be encouraged to make plans for retirement that would support their needs, he said, and make provisions for the younger generation of farmers to take a foothold in the industry.

There is anecdotal evidence, he said, that young farmers training in agricultural colleges around the country were finding it hard to access land.

He said there was a level of mistrust and scepticism about long-term leasing, which needed to be treated through better promotion and information.

IFA President John Bryan said the concerns of those transferring farms and those wishing to get into farming must be understood and addressed in order to improve the structure of farming in Ireland.

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said the Government had introduced a number of policy changes aimed at meeting the challenges associated with land mobility and farm succession.

As these findings highlighted, Mr Coveney said that more work needed to be done in communicating the benefits of these changes to the farming community if the rate of farm restructuring is to be accelerated.

The Land Mobility and Succession in Ireland survey was commissioned by Macra na Feirme, in partnership with the Irish Farmers' Association, the Irish Farmers Journal and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

A total of 451 IFA members over the age of 50 were involved in the survey.