Coming under the hammer of auctioneer Tom Spillane this time is a 64.75-acre farm in the townland of Knockrour East near the village of Scartaglen in mid-Kerry.
It’s located just off the road between Scartaglen and Ballydesmond, approximately 4km from Scartaglen. Farranfore Airport is 17km to the west while the thriving market town of Castleisland is 13km away.
The land around here is of good quality and very productive, with its gently undulating landscape of good soil.
The holding is being sold on behalf of the estate of the late Mary Quinlan and it’s a property that hasn’t been farmed in a while, according to Tom. This is, therefore, a place with quite a bit of potential for the right client.
These days, finding the right client for such properties isn’t as straightforward as it might have been just a couple of years ago. In today’s market, the strengthening hand of the dairy farmer seems to be more in play in land leases rather than in purchases.
That situation is changing, however, and anecdotal evidence suggests a marked upturn in dairy farmers purchasing land once more. But it is the forestry market that is still clearly on the rise and on the lookout for lands. Investors interested in plantations are now more inclined to look to lands lower down and of lesser quality and this farm is one that might tick a few boxes for that sector.
“It was a good farm once upon a time,” says Tom of the holding. “But it has potential to be brought up to a good standard again: If you look at all the ground around it, it is good.
“It will attract interest from local farmers but also the forestry people, who are really keen to get unplanted land at the moment as opposed to 20-year-old plantations.”
The farm is accessed via a public road and it has a derelict single-storey farmhouse with it. Taken together with the fact that it does have some good grazing, it may well represent a good opportunity for someone looking to set up a good-sized residential holding that would improve with work or indeed an opportunity to extend a current holding.
“There are some very productive farmers not far away from this farm,” says Tom, “and they will be looking to add on to their farms, I would imagine.”
The possibility of a forestry interest bidding on the land is a real one in the current climate and the level of price being paid for forestry land is still on the increase nationally, with some auctioneers reporting prices of up to €6,000 per acre; albeit in the more exceptional circumstances.
“There’s good interest from both sets (of sectors) so hopefully we’ll have a good day at the office.”
The farm also enjoys the increasingly rare advantage of entitlements. There are 25 entitlements attached, according to Tom, and further details of their value can be obtained from the auctioneer’s office in Killarney.
The price expectation is in the region of €5,000 per acre. It’s a price that should be very much achievable on the day. It’s a substantial block of land that offers a number of intriguing possibilities to a variety of different potential clients, all of whom should be interested in bidding for an opportunity that doesn’t come along too often.
“We’re guiding in the region of €5,000 per acre and I would be hoping that we would achieve that if not more,” says Tom.