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National Farm Survey shows increase in Farm Income 2014

Launching the National Farm Survey Results for 2014 are Professor Gerry Boyle, Teagasc Director with Professor Cathal O'Donoghue, Teagasc Head of Rural Economy and Development Programme; Dr. Thia Hennessy, Head of the Teagasc National Farm Survey and Brian Moran, Teagasc National Farm Survey. The National Farm Survey Results show that family farm income increased by 6% in 2014, bringing the average income figure for the farming sector to €26,974.

A preliminary estimate of the Teagasc National Farm Survey results show that family farm income increased by 6% in 2014, bringing the average income figure for the farming sector to €26,974.

Speaking at the launch of the results in Dublin, today, Tuesday, 26 May, Dr Thia Hennessy, Head of the Teagasc National Farm Survey said: “The value of farm output decreased in 2014, but farmers benefited from very good weather conditions as well as a recovery from the fodder crisis in the previous year and the total costs of production were down by 6%”. She also noted that “it was a particularly good year for dairy farmers with average income reaching the unprecedented high of €68,887. Although milk price declined slightly in 2014, production levels were up and costs of production were down significantly” she said. “However, many farmers were penalised for over quota production in the last year of the milk quota and they will be paying for that through superlevy bills in 2015,” she added.

“It was a mixed year for cattle farmers” said Brian Moran of Teagasc’s National Farm Survey. “Cattle rearing farms, those involved in the production of young animals, saw their incomes increase by 8 percent, largely on the back of falling production costs. However, cattle fattening units suffered from lower animal slaughter prices in 2014. The average annual slaughter price was down 11 percent and income on these farms fell by 12% in 2014”, he said.

The €26,974 figure is the average income for the full population of approximately 80,000 farms which includes many part-time and small farm holdings. Income varies considerably by farm size and system with the average income on dairy farms almost €69,000 in 2014 compared to an average of just over €10,000 on Cattle Rearing farms. Less than 20 percent of Ireland’s farms earned an income of €50,000 or more, while 40% earned less than €10,000.

Strong lamb prices and production combined with reduced input expenditure increased the average income on sheep farms by 24 percent in 2014. However, it should be noted that incomes on sheep farms fell considerably in 2013 and the 24 percent increase in 2014 is still not sufficient to ensure a full recovery to the 2012 levels.

Good growing conditions led to increased cereal yields in 2014, however falling prices meant that average tillage farm incomes remained more or less unchanged at €28,468.

Just over half of all farm households have an off-farm income source and almost 30% of farmers work off the farm. The rate of off farm employment peaked in 2006 and was in decline up to 2013. The number of farm households with off-farm employment increased in 2013 and 2014.

Farming continues to remain highly reliant on direct payments. The average direct payment per farm was €18,859 comprising 70 percent of farm income in general and over 100 percent on cattle and sheep farms.

The full report is available here to download below.

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