Top beef men losing money despite 2013's record prices
Beef farmers were left nursing losses of up to €152/ha last year despite beef prices at the factories hitting a record high in 2013.
The shocking statistics were revealed in the latest 'profit monitor' data from close to 900 of Teagasc's best beef farmers.
Even after subsidies of close to €560/ha were included, the bottom 10pc of suckler-to-beef farmers were left with a miserable €27/ha profit for their efforts.
The subsidies included all Single Farm Payments, environmental payments and top-ups for participation in beef schemes. Losses were even greater in the bottom 10pc of profit-monitor farmers that sold their weanlings and farms that had no breeding stock.
The bottom third of all weanling producers included in the figures made a loss of €10/ha even after receiving direct payments amounting to €438/ha.
At the other end of the scale, the top 33pc of non-breeding beef farms cleared close to €1,000/ha when all direct payments were factored in.
The averages will also make sobering reading for those hoping to earn a livelihood from the sector.
Average income after all direct payments for weanling producers was less than €340/ha, but this was only before farmers had eaten into almost a third of their EU payments to cover losses of €152/ha. Farmers bringing their stock to slaughter faired slightly better, with their enterprises breaking even before subsidies are included.