In December last year, Teagasc published the final report on the National Farm Survey (NFS) for 2020. This detailed the most recent estimates of Family Farm Incomes (FFI), showing that:
- Dairy farms had the highest average FFI per hectare of €1,223 in 2020.
- Tillage had the next highest margin per hectare at €525
- Drystock farms recorded an average FFI per hectare of €295 for Cattle Rearing farms, €408 for Cattle Other farms, €403 for sheep farms and €449 for Mixed Livestock farms.
It should be noted that these margins are calculated using mean average farm sizes. The FFI within the given systems, and its distribution, varies considerably within each farm system type, as detailed in the NFS.
These estimates use data for the year 2020. However, as the Deputy will be aware, the economic context has changed significantly since then. Teagasc issued an updated Situation and Outlook for Irish Agriculture in April, following the illegal Russian Invasion of Ukraine. This highlighted the impact of the war for agricultural input costs, output prices and margins, including variation in anticipated effects across each of the main farming systems.
Even before Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, agricultural prospects for 2022 were dominated by concerns relating, to cost pressures that began to build up over the second half of 2021. However, the war in Ukraine has led to a sharper and more widespread increase in farm input prices, particularly for feed, fertiliser and fuel, than had been anticipated.
The situation and outlook remain uncertain, and I am closely monitoring events in terms of their implications for Irish Family Farm Incomes. I am committed to supporting family farm enterprises and have introduced a number of measures over the past three months to assist the agriculture and fishing sector. These targeted measures will help Irish farmers and fishers at a time of escalating costs and build resilience against the expected impact of the situation in Ukraine.