Farmers' incomes slashed 22pc over weather and costs
FARM income will fall to an average of just €18,000 this year, the Irish Farmers Association has claimed.
Preliminary estimates show income will be down by 22pc this year because of bad weather and higher costs, the organisation said.
This would amount to a loss of over €500m in national farm income over the year according to the IFA Estimate of Farm Income 2012.
"A combination of dreadful weather conditions which impacted negatively on production and increased input costs resulted in a huge fall in 2012," said IFA President John Bryan.
Their analysis suggested total farm income would fall from €2.4bn in 2011 to €1.9bn this year.
Mr Bryan said this volatility highlighted how crucial EU direct payments were to farmers, accounting for more than 90pc of income this year.
"In the negotiations on the overall EU budget in Brussels this week, it is vital that the CAP budget is maintained," said Mr Bryan.
However, the latest CSO figures indicate that farm prices were up 1.9pc in September compared to the same month last year.
Prices for potatoes were up 171pc on last September; while cereal prices were up 30pc; poultry and egg prices were up 16pc; pig prices were up 13pc; cattle prices were up 7.7pc; and sheep prices rose 3pc.
However, the price of milk fell by 10.5pc from last year's record highs. Farm costs, meanwhile, rose 1.3pc since September, driven mainly by higher feed and energy costs.