Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Irish farms sidestep top input price hikes

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

Irish farmers fared better than their EU counterparts on sales and input costs last year, according to the latest data from the CSO.

Farm output prices were up 15pc here last year compared to 2010, almost double the EU average.

And while Irish input prices were also up by 11pc over the same period, farmers can be thankful that they were not plying their trade in Britain or some of the Eastern European countries, where inputs jumped by up to 22pc.

The narrowing of the gap between the rate of inflation in farm inputs and output prices means that the four-year trend of declining terms of trade for Irish farm businesses has been almost eliminated.

Since 2007, the cost of inputs has risen faster than the value of farm output. However, prices are almost level with input costs again, on the strength of 31pc increases in grain prices, 20pc increases in cattle, 14pc in milk and 8pc in sheep.

The only mainstream product that did not benefit from an uplift last year was potatoes, which declined in value by 33pc.

The biggest increases in costs were seen in fertiliser straights, which increased by 27pc, and motor fuels which were up by 18pc in the 12-month period.

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Animal feed ingredients were also up by 17pc, while electricity was up by 7pc. Vet bills and sprays came down in cost.

However, the hikes in input costs were much higher on average across the EU, with a huge 22pc increase in feed costs. Energy costs increased by over 20pc in Finland, Belgium and Lithuania. Fertilisers jumped by more than 30pc in Britain, Romania, Holland, Luxemburg, Lithuania, Finland and Denmark, and by a massive 55pc in Austria.

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