Teagasc publishes ‘factsheets’ for farm incomes in 2018

Teagasc has published a number of ‘factsheets’ which outline farm incomes for the year 2018 across a number of sectors, as a follow on from its National Farm Survey for that year.

The factsheets summarise and explain the results of the 2018 National Farm Survey, which found that incomes were down across most sectors as a result of the adverse weather conditions last year.

Teagasc has published short, concise factsheets for each of the following enterprises: single suckling; mid-season lowland lamb; dairy; cattle finishing; and cereals. These can be found here, along with the overall results of the National Farm Survey.

The data used in the National Farm Survey was collected from 898 farms, representing 93,000 farms nationally.

Dr. Kevin Hanrahan, head of the Teagasc Rural Economy Development Programme, explained: “In broad terms, the 2018 factsheets show a reduction in margins for dairy, beef and lamb enterprises, largely related to elevated spending on feed, silage making and the purchase of forage.

“The difficult weather conditions encountered in 2018 led to lower technical performance on grassland farms,” he added.

Among some of the stand-out points presented in the factsheets is the fact that, in 2018, the average level of feed used per dairy cow in Ireland was 1.35t, compared to 1t in 2017.

Overall, on dairy farms, average milk production costs increased from 22.9c/L in 2017 to 26.8c/L last year, representing an increase of 17%.

On the suckler side, Dr. Hanrahan explained: “For the average single suckling enterprise, output prices and production costs moved against each other, leading to a fall in margins in 2018.”

He added: “The main reason for the increase in production costs for single suckling was higher concentrate use associated with the difficult weather conditions in 2018.”

The data found that the loss on net margins for suckler farmers was €100/cow in 2018 compared to 2017 – and €138 compared to 2016.

On the average cattle finishing enterprise, net margins fell by €78/ha in 2018, following a loss of €14 in 2017.

For mid-season lowland lamb enterprises, net margins decreased by 38%, from €187/ha in 2017 to €116/ha, in 2018, again because of feed expenditure brought on by the weather.

For more information, and to see the factsheets and the 2018 National Farm Survey results, click here.