Massive margin gap in beef herd
Direct payments and REPS needed to help cover losses
Gross margin on the top suckler farms in the country last year was 20 times higher than the bottom one-third of holdings, Teagasc has revealed.
The top one-third of suckler farmers generated a gross margin of €571/ha in 2009, compared to just €24/ha on the bottom one-third of farms, according to the Teagasc e-Profit Monitor.
The gap between the top and bottom suckler farms widened in 2009, the analysis showed.
The gross margin on the top 10pc of farms was €922 more than the bottom 10pc of farms, representing a staggering difference of €37,000 on a 100ac farm.
The huge differential between the top and bottom farms is even more alarming given that all of the farms involved in the Teagasc e-Profit Monitor would be classed as good farms nationally.
Higher stocking rates and higher beef output per livestock unit were the critical factors that drove gross margin on the best farms.
With a stocking rate of 1.95 livestock units per hectare (LU/ha), the top one-third of farmers carried 0.43LU/ha or 28pc more stock than the bottom one-third of farms.