Higher milk prices see incomes of Northern Ireland farmers nearly double in a year
Improved milk prices helped total farm incomes in Northern Ireland to almost double from £253m to £473m, according to official figures.
Statistics from the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) show that the 87pc rise from 2016 to 2017 was primarily led by a recovery in income from milk.
The dairy sector was the largest contributor to the total value of gross output at £662m, up 46pc on a year earlier.
At the height of the "dairy crisis" here in 2015 milk was sold by farmers for just under 19p per litre. Now it is sitting at just over 30p per litre.
However, behind the sharp income rise is a dependency on European subsidies.
When a direct subsidy of a quarter-of-a-billion pounds (£287m) is removed, the increase is £27m year on year.
The so-called Total Income from Farming (TIFF) measurement represents the return on own labour, management input and own capital invested for all those with an entrepreneurial involvement in farming. It represents farm income measured at the sector level.
Total output for agriculture in Northern Ireland last year was up 17pc at £2.09bn.