National Farm Survey: Indifferent 2017 for beef farms
Beef farmers got the short end of the stick economically in 2017 – compared to other farm enterprises – according to the Teagasc National Farm Survey, which was released earlier today.
The survey broke beef farming into two categories: ‘Cattle Rearing’; and ‘Cattle Other’.
In 2017 there were approximately 19,691 cattle rearing farms, with an average income of €12,680.
Suckler cow production is the dominant enterprise on these farms. Gross output typically increased by 5% year-on-year, with prices for younger cattle improving as the year progressed.
Individual cost items combined with other direct costs resulted in an 8% increase overall.
Likewise, overhead costs relating to machinery operation and electricity and fuel increased by 14% and 4% respectively.
In all, overhead costs on cattle rearing farms increased by 1% in 2017. The average gross margin on a per hectare basis was €803 in 2017. This included a basic payment of €257. The average farm size was 35ha.
A further 26% earned between €10,000 and €20,000, with the remaining 21% earning more than that. Only 2% of cattle rearing farms earned more than €50,000 in 2017, compared to 70% of dairy farms.
There were approximately 27,286 ‘Cattle Other’ farms, with an average income of €16,651 in 2017, a 1% decrease on 2016, according to the Teagasc survey.
Cattle fattening is the dominant enterprise on these farms. In 2017 finished cattle prices increased only marginally (1%) due to volatility across categories, with higher prices for steers and young bulls partially offset by reduced heifer prices.
Fertiliser costs and costs relating to livestock/veterinary declined however, by 8% and 3% respectively.
Overhead costs declined only marginally (1%) over the period. Taking all cost components into consideration, an overall increase in total costs of 1% is reported.
The average gross margin per hectare on cattle other farms was €912 in 2017. This included a basic payment of €303/ha. The average farm size was 37ha, while the average number of livestock units came in at just under 50 units.
Similar to the cattle rearing system, 46% of cattle other farms reported an income of €10,000 or below in 2017.
A total of 41% of cattle other farm-holders also worked off-farm in 2017. The equivalent figure on cattle rearing and sheep farmers is about 33%.