On a per litre basis, production costs for the top group of dairy farmer’s were 17% lower than for the bottom group and the net margins are more than 40% higher in 2013.
That’s according to the Teagasc National Farm Survey for 2013. It noted that there were approximately 15,600 specialist dairy farms with an average family farm income of €62,994 in 2013, a 28% increase on 2012. Incomes in 2013 recovered to close to the record 2011 level.
According to the surveys authors, the income increase was mostly driven by increased output value that arose largely because of the large increase in milk prices received in 2013 when compared with 2012. Despite direct costs increasing by 13%, with concentrate expenditure and bulky feed expenditure up by 24% and 46%, respectively, the growth in output value (14%) was sufficient to lead to increased incomes.
Looking specifically at the dairy enterprise, due to the difficult spring in 2013 and increased levels of milk production per hectare (up 9%) direct costs per hectare increased by 19% on the average dairy farm.
The survey also found that about 22% of dairy farms produced a farm income of €30,000 or less in 2013, while 16% earned €100,000 or more. On a per labour unit basis about 23% of all dairy farms produced an income per labour unit of less than €30,000, while almost 59% produced an income per labour unit of over €50,000.