The southwest region recorded the largest growth in agricultural operating surplus in 2021, according to figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) today (Thursday, October 6).

The Regional Accounts for Agriculture 2021 show significant differences between the regions, with the southwest, southeast, and Dublin and mid-east regions showing growth in operating surplus in excess of 27%, compared to the national rate of 18%.

The southwest posted a 29% increase in operating surplus to almost €948 million in 2021.

The figure for the Dublin and mid-east region stood at €443.9 million, up from €347.9 million in 2020.

The southeast increased its operating surplus from €472.9 million in 2020 to €607.3 million.

The midwest region rose by 13% to almost €648 million, the operating surplus in the midlands was €188.4 million.

The border and west had the lowest rate of growth at 3% or less to €412 million and €453 million respectively.

The full regional breakdown for agricultural operating surplus can be viewed in the table below:

Border€402 million€412.4 million
West€442.3 million€452.5 million
Midwest€572.6 million€647.6 million
Southeast€472.9 million€607.3 million
Southwest€731.9 million€947.4 million
Dublin and mid-east€347.9 million€443.9 million
Midlands€176.8 million€188.4 million
State€3.14 billion€3.69 billion
The Data source: CSO

The CSO noted that the national value of Irish agricultural output at basic prices increased by 14% to €10.1 billion in 2021.

The price of all animals, except for pigs, rose in 2021, resulting in an 11% increase in livestock value to almost €4 billion.

The overall value of cattle to the economy increased by almost 13% to €2.5 billion.

Sheep prices grew by 21% and as a result, their overall value to the Irish economy rose by €60 million to €363 million.


The impact of a 9% reduction in prices on the value of pig production was a contraction of 8% to €555 million.

Poultry values showed a nominal increase as price increases of 2% were largely countered by a contraction of 1% in output volumes, the CSO said.

2021 saw a 17% increase in milk price along with 5% growth in volume. This meant that the value of milk production rose by 23% to nearly €3.4 billion.

The value of cereals grew by 50% to €432 million, as prices were up by 19% and volumes rose by 26%.

The overall value of crops rose by 11% to €2.1 billion, while there was a significant boost in the value of potatoes to €175 million.

Commenting on the data, Mairead Griffin, CSO statistician in the agricultural accounts and production section, said:

“Cereal and milk production were some of the best-performing sectors in 2021. The value of cereals increased by 50% due to the impact of large increases in both volumes and prices.

“The regions with the highest concentration of these activities, Dublin and mid-east, and southeast, performed well in 2021.

“Milk values also grew significantly in 2021 because of both increased prices and volumes. The southwest, which produced almost one-third of Irish milk, gained most from these increases.”

On the inputs side, there was a 0.9% change in intermediate consumption costs to €6.1 billion.

The CSO noted that there was an increase in almost all costs for farmers in 2021: Feed rose by 18%, fertiliser was up 14% and energy and lubricants jumped by 21%.

The net impact of these and other changes was an increase of 18% in the overall agricultural operating surplus to €3.7 billion.

The CSO said that some of the major increases in fertiliser prices will not be captured until it prepares its 2022 estimates.