Demand for Cultivate loans soars as sector turns to farmer friendly finance


Cultivate, the collaborative credit union finance lending platform for farmers, released analysis of their 2021 loan applications. Year-on-year, there has been an increase of 66% in the number of Cultivate loan applications received. The average loan application from farmers in all sectors was up 14% year-on-year to €28,370 and this was mainly used for a number of key on-farm activities including, farm buildings (24%), stocking and working capital (23%) and tractor purchases (18%). This is the first year that farm buildings have featured as the most popular use for Cultivate loans highlighting farmers’ confidence in completing longer term investments.

Loan terms increased marginally, which would be prudent as the average loan value also increased. Average loan terms increased from 69 months to just under 71 months (+2%).

Speaking on behalf of Listowel Credit Union, Ashley FitzGerald noted,
“We have seen demand for Cultivate loans increase across the country and are delighted to see the number of participating credit unions growing alongside the number of loan applications.

Our review of 2021 loan applications highlights the ongoing need for this type of flexible finance for farmers as they look to balance the development of their farms alongside the significant rise in input costs that we have seen in the first quarter of 2022.”

Beef farmers continue to account for the majority of Cultivate loan applications, driving over two-thirds of the total loan applications in 2021, while dairy farmers accounted for 21%, sheep farmers were 8% and tillage farmers were only 2%.

Busiest times for applications
May 2021 was the busiest month for loan applications accounting for 14% of total applications, driven by beef farmers. February was the second busiest month for applications last year, driven by applications from dairy farmers accounting for 13% of total dairy applications. August was the quietest month overall for applications.

Beef and dairy comparison
The average loan to a dairy farmer was just over €32,000 in comparison to €27,715 for a beef farmer. The period saw an increased focus by beef farmers applying for farm building projects while dairy farmers prioritised equipment investment projects.

Dairy farmers were also bigger landowners, owning on average 43 HA of land in comparison to the 30 HA owned on average by beef farmers.

The full 2021 Cultivate Review report is available to download at

For any farmer wishing to find out more about Cultivate please visit or call 068 21938.