Farm incomes to climb average of 5pc next year
Family farm incomes are expected to climb 5pc in 2016, after dairy farmers saw milk prices fall by 24pc this year as they coped with volatility in the post-quota market.
It was a year of contrasts for farmers, as 2015 saw buoyant beef and lamb prices, with incomes up on average €2,700 on the traditionally low-income cattle rearing farms.
Yet farmers with expanding dairy herds suffered an income slump as they were hit by fluctuations on the world markets.
"Mainly due to a 9 cent a litre or 24pc fall in milk prices, the average dairy farm income is estimated to have fallen from around €68,000 in 2014 to €48,000 in 2015," said Trevor Donnellan one of the economists behind the 'Outlook 2016 - Economic Prospects for Agriculture' conference.
Milk production surged 10pc this year since the quota barriers were lifted, with the expansion of Ireland's dairy herd surging ahead of other European countries.
The farm advisory body predicted the average milk price would show a 'modest' recovery from 30 cent per litre this year to 31.5 cent a litre next year.
Teagasc economist Kevin Hanrahan highlighted a recovery in the beef market with the gross margin on cattle rearing farms up 37pc on the lows of 2014, and margins up 33pc in the high-cost cattle finishing business.
However, he warned beef prices were expected to fall next year with a lot more cattle on the ground following the expansion of the dairy herd.