The Teagasc National Farm Survey shows that the ‘average’ farmer in Ireland is 57 years old and has 47ha (116 acres).

It also shows that the average farmer in Ireland has 70 cows, if they’re in dairying, or 27 suckler cows. Some 23% of farmers have a household pension in place, the figures also show.

It says the average age of Irish farmers has been increasing in recent years but can be expected to decrease somewhat in the short-term as Teagasc is experiencing a huge volume of young people undertaking agricultural education.

Most importantly, according to Teagasc 51% of farm households in Ireland have off-farm employment.

The number of farm households with off-farm income peaked in 2009 at 59% and declined to 49% in 2012. According to Teagasc, the prevalence of off-farm employment varies regionally – with the West and Midlands having 44% and 35% of farm households with off-farm employment.

The figures were revealed as part of the National Farm Survey and show that there is a wide distribution of farm incomes across the farming population.

Dairying remains the most profitable farming sector in Ireland, with average incomes of €68,8777, up 13% on 2013. Cattle other (finishing) is the least profitable farming enterprise, the figures show, with an average income of €10,271 – up 8% on 2013.

Cattle rearing (young stock) has an average income of €13,834, which was down 12% on 2013 figures. Sheep farmer incomes were also up, 24%, but from a significantly low base, according to Teagasc.