There was an increase in the proportion of cattle-finishing farms seeing a gross margin of €500/ha or more in 2021, according to the final results of the Teagasc National Farm Survey.

The share of cattle finishers with a gross margin of €500/ha or more has increased from 40% in 2020 to 50% in 2021, Teagasc outlined.

There was a decline of 2% in the share of cattle-finishing farms seeing negative gross margins.

A negative gross margin is where the output value of the farm is less than the direct costs of production.

There was a decrease year-on-year in the proportion of farms with a gross margin of between €150/ha and €300/ha, falling from 19% to 14%.

There was a decrease in the proportion of farms earning a gross margin between €300 and €500/ha, with the percentage of farms in this category decreasing from 24% to 21%.

Teagasc economists released the final results of the National Farm Survey for 2021, along with enterprise factsheets, which provide information on production costs and farm technical performance for the year.

The findings of the Teagasc survey also show that concentrate feed usage per livestock unit (LU) increased by 8% year-on-year in 2021. Stocking rate (in terms of LU/ha) decreased 4% year-on-year.

There were significant increases in expenditure on direct costs such as feed, fertiliser and fuel in 2021, and notable increases also in expenditure on fixed costs such as building and machinery depreciation.

Looking at drystock systems overall, sheep enterprises continued to fair better than cattle farms in 2021.  The average sheep farm income in 2021 was €20,794, an increase of 16% on the 2020 level.

The average incomes in the cattle-rearing and cattle other (mainly finishers) systems in 2021 were €10,865 and €17,223 respectively, representing an increase of 29% and 11% respectively on the 2020 level.