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Teagasc Green Acres Financial Performance Year 3

Teagasc Green Acres Financial Performance Year 3

2021 was to be the final year of the Teagasc Green Acres Dairy calf to beef programme before it transitions into the new DairyBeef500 programme in 2022. The 12 Green Acres farmer participants will move into the new DairyBeef500 programme. Alan Dillon, Teagasc Beef Specialist has more information

Profits rise 39% in 2021 to an average of €650/ha net profit excluding all subsidies

The 12 Green Acres farmer participants will be moving into the new DairyBeef500 programme this year along with new entrants so the progress of the existing participants will continue to be tracked for the next number of years.

Beef prices began to rise in late spring 2021 and remained relatively strong for the rest of the year. A number of the Green Acres participants have reduced their age of slaughter over the years so by virtue of that fact missed out on the beef price rises with a number of stock going to slaughter. The benefits of the beef price rise will be more evident in the 2022 Profit Monitors rather than 2021 on these farms.

None the less despite the beef price rising a little too late in the year for some farmers, the overall result is quite positive across the programme farmers with a net margin recorded of €650/ha excluding all direct payments.

There was a large range of profits on farm depending on system, stocking rate and land type. Those with higher stocking rates on drier farms typically performed best but those on the heavier ground still managed to make respectable profits once technical efficiency was achieved.

Profit versus Beef price

There’s no doubt that the beef price increase in 2021 made a contribution to increasing the net profit across the farms. Beef price rose 11% in 2021 versus the previous year. This contributed to net profits rising by an average of 39% from €468/ha to €650/ha, however the total spend on variable costs increased by 25% over the same period, a percentage of this was from increased volume of fertilizer and feed used to coincide with an increased stocking rate but also a percentage was caused by inflation in costs of feed, fertilizer, polythene and milk. This will be increased dramatically in 2022.

Fixed costs rose by 11% across farms with a wide variation in costs depending on level of building, drainage work and machinery investment carried out on farm.

While beef prices have continued to rise into 2022 and will leave extra cash in the system for those running calf to beef, a problem may arise in winter 2022 when the full effects of input inflation begin to take effect. A significant further increase in beef price will be required next winter to maintain margins.

e-Profit Monitor (€PM) results

Output Value and Year cost comparison

From the table above it can be seen that the grassland Organic Nitrogen per hectare rose to 183kg/ha. However as some of the farmers in the programme carry a significant tillage operation on their farms separate to the calf to beef system, only 1 farmer ended up in derogation last year with the majority of farmers carrying 160-170kg organic N/ha. The most significant improvement is the kg of liveweight per hectare produced on the farm has increased from 994kg/ha to 1427kg/ha. Output on farms has been key to profit with those carrying the lowest levels of output achieving the poorest level of margin.

Taking into account that kg of liveweight/LU has increased also from 455kg to 606kg/lu, this shows that the increase in performance has been achieved on an individual animal basis as much as from increased stocking rate.

Variable costs have increased by €418/ha over the course of the programme which is to be expected given the increased stocking rate. The important to focus on is that the increase in spend on variable cost such as feed, fertilizer, vet and contractor have not eroded the extra output value and left an increased gross margin of €1341/ha in 2021 versus €706/ha in 2019.

Fixed costs on the farm have increased from €606/ha to €692/ha. Part of what contributed to the increase in costs was some farmers requiring investment in housing and land improvements.

A number of the farmers are running significant amounts of leased land also which is fully costed in the fixed costs.

Overall the farmers in the programme are very happy with the progress made which gives them a buffer to handle any increased costs of production that may occur in the years ahead.


While the trebling of fertilizer and near doubling of feed costs will have stretched the cash reserves of the monitor farms in the first half of the year, strong beef prices in excess of €5/kg will give the farmers confidence to continue their system and push to finish stock as early as possible on good quality silage with as little meal as is needed to achieve the required fat score.

Those farmers who have maintained output and production levels over the past few years when beef prices were on the floor have received some reward this year for their efforts.

For 2022, a focus on further improving grazing infrastructure and soil pH will help to reduce the effect of input cost increases to some degree. There does remain a question about how high concentrate prices will go in the winter and what the required beef price will be to cover these costs and the monitor farmers will make decisions on their finishing strategy come the autumn time post mid season weighing.

Find out more about Green Acres Calf to Beef and the farmers involved. | Find out about the Teagasc Profit Monitor (€PM) here or contact your local Teagasc advisor for more details.

The Teagasc Beef Specialists issue an article on a topic of interest to Suckler and Beef farmers every Wednesday here on Teagasc Daily.  Find more on Teagasc Beef here  Teagasc provides a Local Advisory and Education service to farmers. Find your local Teagasc office here