Farmers' income at record level but tough year ahead
FARM incomes are set to fall from the record levels enjoyed last year, farm advisory body Teagasc has said.
Farmers enjoyed a 32pc increase in income last year, up to an average of €24,861, with full-time farmers seeing an increase to €56,000.
Dairy farmers fared best with average income rising 38pc to almost €70,000, and a quarter of them earned more than €100,000 -- though this would include the cost of hiring outside labour to help out.
However, milk prices have already fallen in 2012 from last year's record highs, while many dairy farmers are also facing 'superlevy' bills for producing too much milk under the EU quota system.
And while beef prices have held up well so far, they are also predicted to fall later in the year.
Farmers would have to reckon with increased volatility in the prices they got for their food in coming years, Teagasc said, at the publication of its National Farm Survey 2011 Preliminary Estimates.
While farmers had enjoyed good returns on the back of high world prices for food in 2011, they were also exposed to falling prices.