DAIRY farmers saw their incomes surge by 15pc this year thanks to very high milk prices.
Overall 2013 was a year of mixed fortunes for farmers thanks to bad weather in the first six months, compensated for by strong food prices, a Teagasc conference today heard.
Income across the board is estimated to be up 1pc in the year but there were significant variations in different sectors.
Dairy farmers fared best as although they faced high feed costs due to a fodder crisis earlier in the year, they also benefitted from high global prices for their milk.
This led to dairy incomes rising 15pc from €50,000 in 2012 to €58,000 this year.
High farmgate prices for milk meant profits were up 38pc per litre of milk compared to the previous year and the average dairy farm received an EU subsidy of €21,000.
Beef farmers were also hit with high fodder costs earlier in the year, and strong beef prices led to average income on cattle farms rising 3pc to €18,000.
However there were winners and losers within that as those rearing cattle saw incomes drop by 30pc to €8,500 on average, while those finishing them for slaughter saw income soar by 30pc.
Sheep farmers saw average income fall by 14pc to €16,000, while pig farmers saw prices rise but but feed costs increase pushing income down by 1pc.
Teagasc predicted that 2014 will see production costs fall on Irish farms, although milk prices are likely to fall from the exceptional levels seen this year.