Agricultural price trade index drops 6.3% in 2018 – CSO

Irish farm incomes were squeezed by numerous factors in 2018; this has been backed up by the latest figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) for the year.

Announced today (Wednesday, February 13), the office revealed that the agricultural input price index increased by 4.6% in 2018 compared with 2017.

The agricultural output price index was down 2.0% over the same period.

The resulting terms of trade index decreased by 6.3% in 2018, the CSO has confirmed.

A further comparison of the 2018 output sub-indices with the 2017 sub-indices shows that the largest decrease was in pigs and milk which were down 12.6% and 6.0% respectively.

Animal output overall fell by 4.2% in 2018, according to the figures, with the cattle output index dropping by 1.5% and poultry reducing marginally by 0.3%.

On the upside, the sheep output price index rose by 5.4% compared to 2017.

Crops also saw a strong year, with a 14.6% rise recorded across the board for the year. Cereals saw the strongest boost, with a rise of 21.7%, while potatoes also recorded a strong increase, some 18.5%.

Vegetable outputs saw a more modest index boost of 5.9%.

On the input side, the biggest increase was in energy, up 8.9% while feeding stuffs were up 6.6% on 2017 prices; reflecting the strong demand evident throughout last year due to unsuitable growing conditions for livestock farmers.

Fertilisers also saw an increase in price index, rising by 6.0% overall, with straight fertilisers up 7.9% and compounds up 5.4%.

On a monthly basis, the agricultural output price index increased by 0.5% in December 2018 compared with November 2018.

Meanwhile, the agricultural input price index dropped 0.3% in December 2018 compared with November 2018.