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Independent.ie

Thursday 16 August 2018

How reliant are Irish farms on direct payments?

Although direct payments are lowest on cattle rearing farms at €14,242, their overall contribution to farm income is relatively high at 114pc.
Although direct payments are lowest on cattle rearing farms at €14,242, their overall contribution to farm income is relatively high at 114pc.
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

In 2017 average total payment received was €17,659 per farm and this accounted for 56pc of average farm income.

Direct payments declined by 1pc across systems year-on-year, with a reduction in the basic payment offset by increased payments under the GLAS agri environmental scheme and the introduction of the Sheep Welfare Scheme.

Tillage farms are in receipt of the highest direct payments, the average payment being €23,239 in 2017.

This is driven largely by their larger farm size. In addition, many tillage farms would also have a large on-farm cattle enterprise.

Although direct payments are lowest on cattle rearing farms at €14,242, their overall contribution to farm income is relatively high at 114pc.

The relative importance of direct payments is equivalent on sheep farms, although the average payment is higher at €19,145.

Indeed, a 7pc increase in direct payments was reported on sheep farms in 2017, reflective of the recently introduced Sheep Welfare Scheme.

The figures from Teagasc also show that market income on drystock farms is less than or close to zero, indicating that on average these farms do not make a profit from production.

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The year-on-year volatility in dairy market income (more than doubling in 2017) is also evident.

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