42,600 farmers seek Teagasc advice, as farm incomes fall 15%

Teagasc has advised over 42,600 farmers and held more than 74,000 farmer consultations during 2012. This is according to its 2012 Annual Report, which was published in Dublin today.

Also in 2012, Teagasc published 334 significant research publications and 112 technology updates, while 2,566 students commenced education courses and 3,867 participated in adult education courses, according to today’s report.

Speaking at the publication, Teagasc’s Dr Noel Cawley said:  “Agriculture and the food sector continued to be one of the major contributors to the Irish economy and to economic activity in all rural areas. This was still the case in 2012, despite weather related setbacks and fluctuations in prices for farm gate products.  The Teagasc National Farm Survey showed that family farm income decreased by 15 per cent in 2012, bringing the average income figure for the farming sector down to €25,483.”

Also speaking at the publication was Teagasc director, Prof Gerry Boyle. “2012 was a busy year for Teagasc and that has continued into the current year,” he said. “For livestock farmers 2012 proved extremely challenging with poor weather leading to lower levels of fodder stocks for the winter of 2012 and spring of 2013. Teagasc worked hard on the ground as part of an interagency fodder group to assist farmers through this period.”

On the discussion group model, Prof Boyle said: “The value of the discussion group model for transferring technology was validated in an independent report which showed that dairy farmers who are members of discussion groups achieved higher physical and financial performance in their businesses.”

Other significant activities in Teagasc during 2012 included the launch of a new Professional Diploma in Farm Management, 41,316 single farm payment applications made for clients, 6,758 simple fertiliser plans completed for farmers and a Beef Carbon Navigator launched by Teagasc and Bord Bia among other initiatives.

Teagasc income for 2012 amounted to €169.42m, which was down from €173.28m in 2011.

More reports on Teagasc’s Annual Report 2012 to come.  

Related: Family farm incomes fell 15 per cent, Teagasc survey