Which crop was most profitable in 2017?

Fodder beet was the crop with the biggest net margin in the 2017 Teagasc Tillage E-profit Monitor. It had a net margin which was more than double that of the crop with the second highest net margin – winter oilseed rape.

The net margin of a spring feed barley crop – the most popular tillage crop in the country – is just 25% that of fodder beet.

Crops in order of the highest net margin:
  1. Fodder beet;
  2. Winter oilseed rape;
  3. Winter wheat;
  4. Winter barley;
  5. Spring malting barley;
  6. Spring wheat and spring beans (including protein payment);
  7. Spring oats;
  8. Spring feed barley;
  9. Winter oats;
  10. Spring oilseed rape.

Fodder beet had the highest gross output of all crops and in turn had the highest gross and net margins. However, this was not always the case. Winter wheat had the second highest gross output, but high costs reduced it to the third highest net margin.

Despite having a gross output of €3/ha lower than winter oilseed rape at €1,742/ha, winter barley had a gross margin of €408/ha, compared to oilseed rape’s €511/ha.

Data source: Teagasc

The average yield of beet crops – from the 43 farms growing the crop – in the E-Profit Monitor analysis was 78.5t/ha, while the average price paid was €38/t. Input and machinery costs were significantly higher than all other crops, yet it was still the most profitable crop on the list.

Winter oilseed rape price for the farms surveyed was at an average of €369/t and average yields hit 4.7t/ha. Winter wheat was next in line at an average yield of 10.6t/ha and an average price of €163/t.