38% of beef farmers are unsure if they will still be farming in five years – with the average beef farm loss excluding EU subsidies amounting to €116/ha, according to a new report by IFAC.

Launched in Co. Laois today, Thursday, June 20, the IFAC Irish Farm Report 2019 is claimed to be “one of the most comprehensive farm surveys ever undertaken in the history of the state”.

The report details the views of over 2,133 Irish farmers, according to the accountancy firm, and also contains a detailed analysis of 21,755 sets of farm accounts over a four-year period.

The data has yielded a number of conclusions, on topics including business, the environment, Brexit and employment.

On the beef front, some 61% of beef farmers did not make a profit before EU subsidies, according to the report findings.

Financial well-being was a key issue in the report, with findings showing that 32% of over-65s purported to have no household pension.

Meanwhile, 30% of the same grouping have a pension for one family member only; in addition, 46% of over-65s have no life cover.

In a similar vein to Teagasc’s recent National Farm Survey 2018 report, farm viability levels were found to be very low with just 27% of farms deemed to be sustainable – and 30% assessed as vulnerable.

43% of respondents believe viability is the main challenge to succession. This is reflected in the statistic that 86% of Irish farmers do not have a clear succession plan in place.

Average dairy farm profits were down 25% between 2017 and 2018, according to IFAC. Staying on dairy, it was noted that an extra 6,000 employees will be needed for dairy farms over the next decade, a figure obtained from Paidi Kelly of Teagasc.

Meanwhile, over the last four years, the total turnover in sheep farming has increased by 5%.

Pig farmers made losses in three of the last four years, it was found.