A survey of 1,700 farmers carried out by the agribusiness advisory and accounting group Ifac has uncovered low levels of preparedness for succession and future financial planning in the sector.

Just a quarter of participants said they had identified a potential successor for their business.

One in three said they did not believe that their farm business was viable enough to warrant identifying a successor.

40% said they did not have a will in place.

Just one in five who employ non-family members on their farms said they had written contracts of employment in place with their staff.

24% said they did not know how much they need to have in their pension to provide €200 per week income from the age of 65 - a finding that would likely be replicated in many parts of the wider workforce.

58% of participants said they did not complete budgets or cash flows.

The survey also highlighted the extent to which the farming community has embraced technology, a trend that has accelerated since the pandemic.

70% of farmers said they wanted online buying and selling in marts to continue post-pandemic.

Half said they use herd and breeding software on their farms.

The survey also identified relatively low levels of vaccine hesitancy among farmers with three quarters saying they would take the Covid vaccine.

19% said they were unsure and the remaining 6% said they were not planning on getting vaccinated.

"There is still a lot of uncertainty about the future of farming and concerns about the cost of Covid, the impact of Brexit on the wider economy, and the costs associated with tackling climate change weigh heavily on the minds of Irish farmers," John Donoghue, chief executive of Ifac, said.

"Despite almost a third of Irish farmers saying they want to remain involved in the farm after retirement, for the third year in a row our survey shows that farmers are slow to act in relation to succession planning - something necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of rural Ireland," he added.