Average farm incomes jumped considerably in 2022, propelled chiefly by the dairy sector which delivered average farm incomes for farmers of €148,000 in 2022, according to a new Teagasc report published today (Tuesday, December 13) .

The Teagasc Economic Outlook for Irish Agriculture report painted a mixed income picture for farmers in Ireland in 2022, with some enjoying a buoyant return for their work but others, such as those in the pig sector, suffered estimated losses in the region of €422,000 this year.

The clear winner in terms of farm incomes during 2022 was the dairy sector, with farmers enjoying significantly higher incomes in 2022.

Tillage farmers buoyed by favourable weather also saw higher yields and healthy incomes during the year.

But incomes on cattle farms, sheep farms and pig farms were downbeat, with some showing a significant decline year on year.

Dairy farm incomes

Incomes on dairy farms are likely to be up by 50% year-on-year in 2022, boosted primarily by a 44% increase in milk prices, according to Teagasc, which attributed this “to the lack of growth in global milk supplies this year”.

The Teagasc 2023 Economic Outlook for Irish Agriculture report also details that milk production costs were approximately 30% higher this year compared to last year, averaging about 8c/L in 2022.

It highlights that Irish milk production this year remained in line with the same production totals for 2021, but the hot weather conditions during the summer did have an obvious impact on grass availability.

Cattle incomes

Incomes on cattle-rearing farms are expected to show a 20% drop in incomes during 2022, with higher production costs offsetting any benefit from higher cattle prices.

This has brought the average income on a cattle-rearing farm down to €8,700 in 2022, even with the benefit of the Fodder Support Scheme on farm incomes.

The average income for cattle ‘other’ farms in 2022 is also estimated to be slightly down, by 2% in 2022 to settle at around €16,900.

Sheep farm incomes

According to Teagasc, sheep farms “benefitted” from higher lamb prices in 2022 and also benefitted from the Fodder Support Scheme.

But they had to contend with higher production costs and despite the boost to gross output from the Sheep Welfare Scheme this was not enough to cover input cost increases which brought the average sheep farm income back down to around €19,800 in 2022.

Tillage incomes

Tillage farmers enjoyed a major boost from “favourable” weather during the year, which Teagasc highlighted “led to higher yields and favourable moisture content” throughout 2022 for most crops.

Although winter barley yields were lower this year due to virus impacts, the impact of the war in Ukraine boosted cereal prices at harvest time.

Even with production costs factored in the average tillage farm income is expected to jump by 10% to around €64,000 in 2022.

Pig incomes

Although there was some respite for pig prices as 2022 progressed overall, the sector suffered the most adverse conditions including the impact of punishing feed prices which combined to produce one of the worst performances of all sectors during 2022.

According to Teagasc, despite the significant state support that was made available, the average pig farm is likely to have suffered losses in the region of €422,000 in 2022.