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An Examination of the Volatile Nature of Grass Production in Ireland


  • O'Connor, Declan
  • Hennessy, Deirdre
  • Shalloo, Laurence
  • Hurtado-Uria, Cristina


Grass production provides Irish dairy farmers with a competitive advantage over many of their mainland European counterparts by providing a cheap feed source. The temperate climate in Ireland favours the production of grass, however production is highly seasonal with little growth over the winter period. This seasonal pattern of grass production in turn has resulted in predominantly spring calving dairy herds and has limited the development of the dairy product portfolio in Ireland which has created a reliance on dairy commodities. As Ireland exports approximately 80% of its dairy output, recent substantial increases in market price volatility has resulted in increased price volatility at farm level. The increased price volatility at market and farm level has been well documented; however the volatility of farm inputs has received little attention to date. In this paper the seasonal and volatile nature of grass production is presented and compared with other Irish crops. As Irish dairy and beef farmers expand production in the post quota environment the optimal use of grass as a feed source will be central to their competitive position. The volatile nature of this resource will require improved pasture management along with improved risk management tools. A number of possible tools are discussed in the latter part of this paper.

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  • O'Connor, Declan & Hennessy, Deirdre & Shalloo, Laurence & Hurtado-Uria, Cristina, 2012. "An Examination of the Volatile Nature of Grass Production in Ireland," 123rd Seminar, February 23-24, 2012, Dublin, Ireland 122452, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:eaa123:122452

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Woodard, Joshua D. & Garcia, Philip, 2007. "Basis Risk and Weather Hedging Effectiveness," 101st Seminar, July 5-6, 2007, Berlin Germany 9254, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Hogarth, Robin M & Kunreuther, Howard, 1989. "Risk, Ambiguity, and Insurance," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 5-35, April.
    3. Banerjee, Chirantan & Berg, Ernst, 2011. "Efficiency Of Wind Indexed Typhoon Insurance For Rice," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114240, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    4. Martin Odening & Oliver Musshoff & Wei Xu, 2007. "Analysis of rainfall derivatives using daily precipitation models: opportunities and pitfalls," Agricultural Finance Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 67(1), pages 135-156, May.
    5. Jerry R. Skees, 2008. "Challenges for use of index-based weather insurance in lower income countries," Agricultural Finance Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 68(1), pages 197-217, May.
    6. Barnett, Barry J. & Barrett, Christopher B. & Skees, Jerry R., 2008. "Poverty Traps and Index-Based Risk Transfer Products," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 1766-1785, October.
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    Grass Production; Volatility; Risk Management; Risk Management Tools; Farm Management; Risk and Uncertainty;

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