Income falls by 15% on tillage farms in 2019

The average family farm income on tillage farms in 2019 was €34,437. This is a decline of 15% on 2018.

This is according to the Teagasc National Farm Survey which was released today, June 29.

Approximately 6,878 tillage farms were represented in the survey in 2019. Many of these farms are not specialist tillage farms and have other enterprises on farm.

The average farm size of those surveyed was 61ha and the average income per hectare was €568/ha. This is down from €677/ha in 2018 and €605/ha in 2017.

2019 provided better crop growing conditions and high yields, following a tough season in 2018 where drought reduced yields. However, cereal prices took a dramatic drop and in turn so did income.

Over half of all the land on tillage farms was planted to cereals in 2019 – 33ha.

It should also be noted that many tillage farms also have cattle. The Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) contributed more than €1,800 to the income of the average tillage farm in 2019.

Direct payments

The direct payment per hectare on the tillage farms surveyed was €418/ha. €322/ha of this was the basic payment.

The national average of direct payments per hectare was reported to be €427/ha – €276/ha of this from the basic payment.

Those direct payments accounted for an average of 74% of the tillage family farm income in 2019, compared to 55% in 2018. Direct payments accounted for 77% of family farm income when averaged across sectors.

Increase in costs

Costs increased on tillage farms in 2019 by approximately 10% to €83,250. Direct costs increased by 10% year-on-year. Fertiliser was up 8%. Seed costs increased by 3% and crop protection costs increased by 4% compared to 2018.

Contractor charges also rose by 9%, bringing the average spend on contracting costs to €8,238.

Other costs to increase from 2018 to 2019 included conacre, fuel, electricity and building and land improvement costs.

35% of tillage farms reported debt on the farm and the average loan amount was €63,661.

Distribution of income

30% of tillage farms had an average family farm income of between €20,000 and €50,000 in 2019. This was also the case in 2017 and 2018.

26% of tillage farms surveyed had an average family farm income of more than €50,000; 6% of these farms earned more than €100,000.

However, 44% had an average family farm income of less than €20,000. In fact, 15% of tillage farms survey earned less than €5,000 and 18% earned between €5,000 and €10,000. The remaining 11% earned between €10,000 and €20,000.