The average price of farmland rose by 15% nationally last year, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the latest Irish Farmers Journal's county land price report shows.

Today's report shows that the average price of agricultural land reached €10,316 an acre, up from €8,971 in 2019. 

This is the highest average land price figure recorded since the financial crash of 2008.

But the number of acres of farmland offered for sale fell by 25.4% due to Covid-19 with auctioneers reporting concern among some landowners that their holdings would not make full market value and preferring to postpone selling until the pandemic was over. 

The report also said that demand for land with residences will be watched with interest by auctioneers and landowners this year.

This is due to reports of higher interest among city-based families in relocating to rural areas under new working from home arrangements as a result of Covid-19.

According to the Irish Farmers Journal, the three counties with the highest prices were Donegal, Kildare and Waterford, while the three counties with the lowest prices in 2020 were Leitrim, Clare and Mayo.

The report also noted that business people were the big buyers of land last year.

It said that recent years have seen more land being bought by business people and - after the ending of milk quotas - by dairy farmers. 

Last year business people were again the single biggest category of buyer.

They were the buyers of 150 farm holdings, or 33% of the 455 for which the buyer is known to the Irish Farmers Journal.

That is up from 2019, when business people made 20% of purchases.