Construction activity on farms has nosedived this year and is back 30% to 50% on usual levels, agricultural development firms estimate.

A combination of atrocious weather, reduced cashflow and uncertainty around the nitrates derogation has resulted in building projects being either scaled back or put on ice, while concrete sales to farms have dried up.

Tipperary-based farm planning consultant Aidan Kelly said he has seen a major fall-off in activity this year.

Bertie Troy of Grasstec Group said building work first stalled last summer and is only now resuming.

Planning permission data illustrates the extent of the fall-off in activity. Although there were 1,492 applications for farm sheds in 2021, this fell to just 981 in 2023 and is forecast to be lower again this year.

Meanwhile, a major VAT spat has erupted between the Oireachtas agriculture committee and Revenue.

The committee refused to accept Revenue’s contention that VAT rules around farming have not changed significantly.