Where is the most profitable farming region in Ireland?
Regions where dairying is most prevalent are generally more profitable and have a lower reliance on direct payments, according to Teagasc’s National Farm Survey results.
Farm income varies widely by region and is driven by scale, system, profitability and direct payments.
The south-east remained the most profitable farming region in 2016.
The average farm income across the 83,377 farms represented by the National Farm Survey was €24,060 last year – a 9% decline on 2015.
The south-east saw the highest average farm income, at €38,561. However, this was down 6% from €42,141 in 2015. Direct payments as a percentage share of farm income in the region saw an increase of 9%, bringing the percentage share to 63% in 2016.
In the south, the average farm income was €27,781 in 2016. Direct payments made up 59% of farm income in the region.
Farmers in the west of the country are, on average, 100% reliant on direct payments as a means of farm income.
The south-west saw the greatest percentage change in income year-on-year. The region experienced a 16% drop in average farm income in 2016. The south followed after, with a 13% decline in farm income.
The border counties are the most disadvantaged. The region has the lowest farm income and the highest reliance on direct payments.
The farming population in Ireland includes a considerable number of part-time farmers. The National Farm Survey revealed half of all farming households have an off-farm source of income, from either the farm-holder or spouse.
Almost one in three farmers work off-farm.
Some 42% of farm-holders in the west worked off-farm in 2016.
In contrast, only 22% of farm-holders in the south and south-west worked off-farm last year.