Over a third of Irish beef farmers uncertain if they will be farming in five years - new report

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Stock photo.
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

More than a third of beef farmers are uncertain if they will be farming in five years, a report published by IFAC has stated.

The Irish Farm Report 2019, which surveyed over 2,000 farmers and conducted a detailed analysis of trends from 21,755 sets of on-farm financial accounts stated that 38pc of beef farmers are uncertain if they will be farming in five years while 86pc of all farmers surveyed do not have a clear succession plan in place.

It outlined that  43pc of farmers say their business is not viable enough to encourage the next generation to take it on and,  more than 80pc of farmers surveyed have an off farm source of income coming into the household.

It details that over 95pc of farmers surveyed depend exclusively on family members to help on the farm, while only 6pc have full time on farm employees.

It also highlighted that a quarter of farm households have no pension plan for the farmer or their spouse in place.

The survey showed that the average dairy farm profit dropped by 25pc from €1,077/ha (2017) to €804/ha excluding EU subsidies in 2018.

Meanwhile the average beef farm lost €116/ha excluding EU subsidies in 2018.

Feed costs were 30pc higher for dairy farms and 40pc higher for beef farms in 2018 due to the adverse weather conditions in that year

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IFAC CEO John Donoghue said the survey highlighted that there are many challenges in the sector but that farmers have many reasons to remain optimistic.

“On a positive note our Irish Farm Report clearly shows that farmers are ready and willing to embrace environment friendly initiatives, and there are profits to be made in farming subject to the right supports, market stability, financial structure and advice being in place,” he said.

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