Suckler farmers’ 2019 income witnesses an 11% increase – National Farm Survey

The average income on ‘Cattle Rearing’ (suckler) farms in 2019 increased by 11% on the 2018 level. This results in an average income of €9,188, which was still lower than that achieved in 2017, according to the Teagasc National Farm Survey 2019.

Feed expenditure on these farms fell in 2018 (by 19%), but cattle prices also fell. The increase in support payments made available under the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) was responsible for the overall increase in income.

On ‘Cattle Other’ farms (finishing operations), there was also a reduction in production costs in 2019, as feed use fell by 11% from the elevated levels required in 2018. However, the fall in cattle prices in 2019 offset the benefit of lower costs.

Even with the additional support made available, the average income level of ‘Cattle Other’ farms fell by 6% to €13,893 in 2019.

Looking at the survey in more detail, in 2019, there were approximately 25,455 cattle rearing farms, with suckler-to-weaning production the dominant enterprise on these farms, with gross output typically increased by 2% year-on-year to €36,715.

Additionally, there were approximately 28,564 ‘Cattle Other’ farms; cattle fattening is the dominant enterprise on these farms. In 2019, finished cattle prices decreased due to adverse market conditions.