Subsidies account for over 50% of farm incomes

In 2015, net subsidies accounted for 52.6% of agricultural income (operating surplus) at State level, new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show.

This figure increased to 71.2% of agricultural income for farms in the border, midland and western region.

In the southern and eastern region 42.7% of agricultural income was made up of net subsidies.

An analysis of agriculture in the regions in the year 2015 found that the southern and eastern region produced 58.4% of national cattle output and almost 80% of milk output came from the same region.

Furthermore, the southern and eastern region accounted for more than 80% of the national cereal output.

More than half (55.8%) of national sheep output and just under half (49.5%) of national pig output came from the border, midland and western region.

Earlier this year, the results of the National Farm Survey found that the average family farm income stood at €26,526, a 6% increase on the year previous.

While milk price was down almost 20% in 2015, income on dairy farms fell by just 4% to an average of €63,020. This was in stark contrast to the average income on cattle rearing farms, which was €12,904 for 2015.

Incomes on sheep farms increased by 8% to an average of €15,791 while on tillage farms income increased by 16% to an average of €33,731.

The average direct payment per farm in 2015 was €17,000 comprising 64% of farm income in general and almost 100% of income on cattle and sheep farms, the National Farm Survey found.