Farm earnings fall by 15pc to €25,383 - Teagasc

Aideen Sheehan

Teagasc's National Farm Survey 2012 showed average incomes on Irish farms fell from over €30,000 in 2011 to €25,383 last year.

And the bad weather which caused last year's income drop is continuing to push up costs during 2013, farm advisory body Teagasc said.

The main reason for last year's income drop was that costs rose due to bad weather hitting cereal yields and forcing farmers to purchase more fodder.

Overall farm costs rose by 9pc last year.

However last year's drop in income came after a particularly good year in 2011 and earnings are still well ahead of 2010.

The average figures conceal wide variations, as average income on dairy farms was €51,648, while on cattle farms it was just €11,743.

Subsidies paid to farmers now account for 81pc of farm income, with the average payment amounting to €20,534.

The Single Farm Payment which is currently being hotly debated in Brussels accounts for the bulk of this.

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Teagasc economist Thia Hennessy said that food prices paid to farmers had remained favourable in 2012, but the bad weather affected costs and yields.

"In particular dairy farms were impacted by the wet summer and direct costs of production increased by 21pc," she said.

Over 26,000 farms are economically vulnerable as the business is not viable and neither the farmer nor the spouse works off the farm.

The number of farmers who had a job off the farm fell from 30pc in 2011 to 27pc.

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