Table: Regional difference of up to €228/cow in dairy farm income in 2019

A difference of up to €228/cow was established in terms of family farm income per cow among dairy farms depending on the geographical region last year, according to the Teagasc National Farm Survey 2019.

The report – which was published on Monday, June 29 – divided the country into three broad areas, comprised of the: eastern and midland; northern and western; and southern regions.

There were just over 16,100 dairy farms represented in the survey.

The northern and western region included counties: Leitrim; Sligo; Cavan; Donegal; Monaghan; Galway; Mayo; and Roscommon, while the east and midland territory comprised counties: Dublin; Kildare; Meath; Wicklow; Louth; Laois; Longford; Offaly; and Westmeath.

Finally, the southern region accounted for counties: Limerick; Tipperary; Clare; Wexford; Kilkenny; Carlow; Waterford; Cork; and Kerry.

In terms of the proportion of dairy farms located in each region, the vast majority, 11,708 (72%), are located in the south, which would be considered a traditional dairy area, the report notes.

A further 2,352 (15%) are located in the northern and western region, with 2,014 (13%) in the eastern and midlands region, where more recent dairy expansion has been occurring since the abolition of EU milk quota, the survey report said.

Income

On a per-hectare basis, in 2019, family farm income (FFI) was highest in the southern region at €1,196/ha. The comparative figures for the eastern and midlands region and northern and western region were €1,116/ha and €857/ha respectively.

Direct costs per cow were higher in the northern and western region, with higher levels of concentrate feed expenditure providing a partial explanation of the cost differential, the report highlighted.

When FFI per cow in 2019 is compared, farms in the southern region performed best at €907, a differential of almost €150/cow compared to the eastern and midland region – and almost €230/cow relative to the northern and western region.

Taken a step further, in terms of gross margin per cow, the eastern and midland region, the northern and western region and the southern region had gross margins of: €1,605/cow; €1,449/cow; and €1,629/cow respectively – leaving a gap of €130/cow between top and bottom regions.

Finally, on a per-hectare basis, Teagasc notes that the eastern and midland region, the northern and western region and the southern region had gross margins of: €2,356/ha; €1,893/ha; and €2,148/ha respectively.

Source: Teagasc

This, according to the report, can be attributed to milk price differences of up to 1.2c/L between regions, and increased costs for concentrate feeds, with a difference of up to 2.14c/L in cost for concentrates per litre emerging.

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