Irish cattle farmers see a boost in income for 2015

Family farm incomes in Ireland grew by 6% last year, according to the agricultural and food development authority Teagasc's National Farm Survey, bringing the average income figure for the farming sector to 26,526.

Despite the considerable fall in milk prices, increased milk production, combined with higher cattle prices, good weather conditions and reduced input expenditure due to lower fuel and animal feed prices, resulted in a 6% increase in average farm income in 2015, said Dr Thia Hennessy, head of the Teagasc National Farm Survey.

2015 saw cattle prices rise considerably in Ireland, between 6% and 16% depending on the animal type. This, coupled with reduced input expenditure, resulted in the average farm income on cattle farms increasing between 29% and 34%, depending on the production system, according to the survey.

Although this is a significant increase, Teagasc reaffirmed that some incomes were still as low as 12,904 on some cattle rearing farms for 2015.

Cattle farmers are still very reliant on direct payments, which comprise a large proportion of income, said Brian Moran of Teagascs National Farm Survey. However, 2015 represents the first year in recent times where cattle farms generated a profit from production before they received these payments.

Meanwhile, lamb prices increased by just 2% in 2015, while incomes on sheep farms increased 8% to an average of 15,791 on the back of strong cattle prices and reduced input expenditure.

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