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National Farm Survey: Single Suckling Enterprise Factsheet 2020


The 2020 Teagasc National Farm Survey (NFS) recorded data on over 800 farms, representative of over 90,000 dairy, beef, sheep and tillage farms in Ireland. This factsheet covers data collected on single suckling enterprise.

Download NFS2020 Single Suckling Enterprise Factsheet PDF

Background

The 2020 Teagasc National Farm Survey (NFS) recorded data on 805 farms, 230 of which were single suckling farms. The performance of the single suckling enterprise in 2020 is summarised here and relates to those farms with herds of greater than 10 cows. The Single Suckling enterprise is the predominant cattle enterprise in Ireland, operated on over 31,000 farms.

Source: Teagasc National Farm Survey 2020 (Preliminary Results), Central Statistics Office and Dept. of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

1. Analysis of Financial Performance

The profit figures reported here exclude all decoupled payments and any costs relating to family labour. The enterprise profit figures do however include coupled direct payments. These payments have contributed importantly to enterprise gross output in 2020. Gross output increased (5%) on the average single suckling enterprise in 2020 to €980 per hectare. In 2020, this increase in gross output was partially offset by a 2% increase in direct costs, leading to a 9% increase in the average gross margin on a per hectare basis. On average, energy and fuel costs decreased by 9% year-on-year and other fixed costs decreased by 2%. In 2020, the increase in gross output was accompanied by lower total costs and average net margin per hectare increased significantly to -€25 per hectare.

Table 1: Average gross and net margin 2019 and 2020

Source: Teagasc National Farm Survey 2020

Mainly due to the increase in gross output on a per cow basis, gross margin per cow increased by 13% in 2020 to an average of €563, as illustrated in Table 2. Fixed costs decreased by 1% in 2020 and the net margin per cow therefore improved to -€36 per cow in 2020.

Table 2: Average, gross and net margin 2019 and 2020

Source: Teagasc National Farm Survey 2020

2. Variation in Production System

Data for 2020 relating to the various production systems found on Irish single suckling farms (calf to weanling, calf to store and calf to finish) are presented in Table 3. Single suckling to weanling and suckling to store systems are more prevalent than calf to finishing systems. However, the latter is more profitable, as evidenced by the calf to finishing enterprises in 2020, which had the highest gross margin per hectare (see Table 3). A higher stocking rate and superior soil quality are more prevalent on suckling to finishing farms.

Table 3: Variation in gross margin per hectare by production system 2020

Source: Teagasc National Farm Survey 2020

Table 4 shows that the changes in animal sales prices between 2019 and 2020 varied across the categories of cattle sales, with an average 6% increase in weanling prices being the largest percentage change. Male store sales prices increased by an average of 3% between 2019 and 2020. Female store sales prices increased by an average of 2%. Sales prices increased by 1% for male and female finished cattle between 2019 and 2020.

Table 4: Average animal sales prices 2019 and 2020

Source: Teagasc National Farm Survey 2020

3. Variation in Financial Performance

Table 5 summarises the 2020 Teagasc NFS results for single suckling farms classified on the basis of gross margin per hectare; the best performing one-third of farms (Top), the middle one-third (Middle) and the poorest performing one-third (Bottom).

Table 5: Profit per hectare for Top, Middle and Bottom one-thirds of farms in 2020

Source: Teagasc National Farm Survey 2020

Table 5 shows the broad variation in gross output per hectare on Irish single sucking across the three groups, with gross output on the Top performing farms being €1,406 per hectare and only €641 per hectare for the Bottom performing group. The gross margin (€ per ha) earned is over 4 times higher on the Top performing group of farms as compared to the average gross margin earned by the Bottom group of farms. The variation in expenditure on feed across the three groups of farms is less marked than the variation in gross output. It is evident that a higher proportion of the Middle and Top performing single suckling farms have a superior soil type.

The average sale and purchase prices recorded for the various animal types on the Top, Middle and Bottom single suckling farms are presented in Table 6. It is evident from Table 6 that average finished sales prices are higher for the Top performing group relative to the Middle and Bottom performing groups. A similar pattern is evident in relation to weanling prices. Sales prices for store animals are similar for the Top and Middle performing groups.

Table 6: Average sale price (€ per head) for Top, Middle and Bottom one-thirds of farms 2020

Source: Teagasc National Farm Survey 2020

4. Variation in Technical Performance

The proportion of Single Suckling farms attaining the Teagasc 2025 Sectoral Road Map Targets in 2019 and 2020 is set out in Table 7. There was some improvement over the period 2019/2020 in the proportion of farms reaching the gross output, gross margin and net margin targets set out in Teagasc’s 2025 Road Map. For instance, the proportion of farms earning a net margin greater than €110 per hectare increased by 10 percentage points year-on-year. There has been a dis-improvement in the proportion of farms meeting the threshold relating to concentrate usage per LU of less than 390 kg per LU. The proportion of farms meeting this target fell by 3 percentage points between 2019 and 2020.

Table 7: Percentage of farms achieving selected Teagasc Cattle 2025 Road Map Targets

Source: Teagasc National Farm Survey 2020

Table 8 shows an increase in the share of farms in the higher part of the gross margin distribution in 2020 relative to 2019. In 2020, there was a 9 percentage point increase in the proportion of single suckling farms with a gross margin per hectare exceeding €500 per hectare.

Table 8: Distribution of gross margin per hectare 2019 and 2020

Source: Teagasc National Farm Survey 2020

For further information on this publication or other Teagasc National Farm Survey Publications please contact NFS@teagasc.ie