Some 40% of Irish farmers earn less than €10,000 from their farm, the latest figures from Teagasc show.
It also says that the number of farmers who are earning less than €10,000 is increasing year on year. The National Farm Survey figures show that the average farm income (gross output less costs) is €26,974.
The average subsidy payment on Irish farms is €18,859 and accounted for 70% of farm income. On cattle and sheep farms, subsidies comprised over 100% of income.
The figures also show that farms involved in dairying have a significantly higher income, at €68,877 compared to those on the lowest end of the scale – cattle rearing (young stock) of €10,271.
Of the 14,000 (18%) of farms nationwide that have a farm income of more than €50,000, only 3,000 are not involved in dairying at some level.
The figures also showed that dairy farmers are the most likely to have invested in their enterprise, with dairying accounting for 63% of all new investments. The average investment on dairy farms is up 16% on 2013, at €22,000.
However, it also shows that household debt is not being used to fund farming enterprises which, Teagasc said, is a good thing.
Farms south of Limerick-Louth are more likely to have a larger income, the survey also shows, while those on border counties and in the west more likely to have a lesser income.