2022 produced “a mixed outcome” for income levels across farm systems in Ireland, Teagasc’s National Farm Survey 2022 shows.
The state agency published the results, which it says are representative of almost 85,806 farms in Ireland, on Monday, June 12th, 2023.
Dairy and tillage farms experienced “sharp increases” in farm income in 2022, largely due to high milk and cereal prices, in spite of rising production costs.
On foot of this, dairy and tillage farms were “better able to cope” with production cost increases than other types of farms.
Family farm income
Taking account of the income developments across the various farm systems, the average family farm income in Ireland rose by almost 32% in 2022 to about €45,800, according to Teagasc.
A spokesperson for the state agency said:
“However, it is important to emphasise that this increase is almost entirely attributable to the sharp rise in dairy and tillage farm incomes in 2022.”
“A different perspective emerges when looking at income development in the drystock farming systems, with lower farm incomes reported on about half of all drystock farms in 2022.”
“As all of the income figures in this release are presented in nominal terms, the high rate of general inflation that has emerged over the last 18 months needs to be taken into consideration, as this has reduced the real value of those incomes. In 2022 inflation in Ireland was almost 8%.”
While cattle and sheep farms also saw the value of output increase, the rise in production costs left incomes in 2022 on many of these farms either lower or relatively unchanged on the previous year.
The high rate of general inflation in Ireland over the last 18 months has also “eroded” the real value of income in all farm systems, Teagasc added.
In 2022, several global events in combination had a “substantial” impact on international agriculture.
There were “sharp” movements in global commodity prices including agricultural outputs, energy and agricultural inputs.
Collectively these price movements had a “substantial” influence on farm incomes globally, including those in Ireland.
A high rate of global inflation emerged in 2022 as the world recovered from the COVID-19 lockdown.
Furthermore, Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine particularly affected Europe’s energy market and also had an impact on the global supply of key grains and oilseeds. This high rate of inflation has continued into 2023.
As a result, higher agricultural input prices, in particular for fertiliser, fuel, electricity and concentrates caused a “sharp” increase in farm production costs in all farm systems, the report highlights.
These events occurred alongside the more typical events which impact agricultural markets, such as variability in weather conditions.
Weather conditions in Ireland in 2022 were somewhat “unfavourable” for grass production over the summer period, but benefitted cereal crop production, leading to an overall increase in Irish cereal yields.
Across the key farm output categories in Ireland, cereal and milk prices performed best in 2022, the publication shows.
Milk prices were up 49% in 2022 compared to 2021, while cereal crop prices rose by about 40%.
Cattle prices also jumped in 2022, by 10% for weanlings and 15% for prime cattle.
Lastly, the increase in lamb prices in 2022 was “much more modest” at about 2%.