Higher milk prices boost dairy farmers but beef loses out
FARM incomes have divided sharply between dairy and beef, with the former sector enjoying huge gains.
Dairy remains the star performer of Irish farming, with average incomes rising to €64,371, thanks to much higher milk prices and output.
But most cattle farmers lose money producing beef and are only kept afloat by subsidies.
A new report shows that the average subsidy to all Irish farms is €19,173, accounting for three-quarters of their income.
But on cattle-rearing farms the costs of production far exceeded the price paid to farmers for their beef last year.
This means that most would be financially better off keeping their subsidies and getting rid of the animals.
The Teagasc National Farm Survey 2013 showed that average incomes on Irish farms rose by 1pc to €25,639. However, this masked "dramatically contrasting fortunes" on different types of farms, with dairy the star performer.
Cattle-rearing farms saw incomes decline by 22pc to €9,469 due to higher production costs associated with severe fodder shortages early last year.