Farm Ireland
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Sunday 4 December 2016

Improved prices drive increases in farm returns

Dairy and tillage operations see income rises of 92pc and 119pc

Published 10/05/2011 | 05:00

Dr Thia Hennessy, Head of the National Farm Survey; Brian Moran, Teagasc National Farm Survey; and Dr Frank O’Mara, Director of Research at Teagasc, have a chat at the launch of the Teagasc National Farm Survey
Dr Thia Hennessy, Head of the National Farm Survey; Brian Moran, Teagasc National Farm Survey; and Dr Frank O’Mara, Director of Research at Teagasc, have a chat at the launch of the Teagasc National Farm Survey

Income on dairy and tillage farms doubled last year as global dairy and markets experienced a massive rebound from the lows of 2009.

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Family farm income (FFI) across all dairy farms last year was €47,171, up 92pc from 2009, according to the Teagasc National Farm Survey, while family farm income on tillage farms increased by 119pc to €33,381 last year.

The welcome recovery on dairy farms was due to a combination of higher output and substantially better milk prices last year compared with 2009.

Gross output on the 16,000 dairy farms covered by the Teagasc survey increased by 23pc from 2009 to last year.

The average milk price paid to farmers in the survey increased by 29pc from 2009 to last year, and volume of milk delivered for sale increased by almost 8pc.

The total value of direct payments to dairy farmers fell by 3pc from 2009 to last year and made up 15pc of total farm gross output on dairy farms in 2010.

Expenditure

In terms of expenditure, dairy farmers' spend was more or less unchanged from 2009 to last year, but there was a 5pc increase in expenditure on concentrate feeds as the amount and price of feed increased.

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FFI on the country's 6,500 tillage farms increased by 119pc last year on the back of a poor 2009, Teagasc found.

Again, the increase was a factor of better prices for grain and improved yields resulting in more grain produced at a better price than in 2009.

Market-based gross output increased by 31pc last year. Yields per hectare of wheat increased by 5pc on average, while the price per tonne received by farmers increased by 56pc.

The value of direct payments on tillage farms was more or less unchanged and tillage farmers' spend on inputs fell very slightly, by 3pc.

Average incomes on tillage farms ranged widely, with one-third of tillage farmers earning a farm income of less than €13,000 last year and another one-third earning income of €40,000 or more.

The stark improvement in both dairy and tillage farm income is reflected in Teagasc's regional analysis of income.

The average FFI is highest in the dairy and tillage strongholds of the south and southeast regions.

Both dairy and tillage farmers reinvested some of their higher income back into their farms, with dairy farmers spending €12,143 on net new investment and tillage farmers spending €7,830 on farm improvements.

The Teagasc National Farm Survey is based on a sample of 1,050 farms that are nationally representative of 99,500 farms.

FFI is calculated by deducting all farm costs from gross output and does not include family labour as a cost.

It is the return on family labour, management and investment.

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