Average family farm incomes fell by 21% last year -according to the Teagasc National Farm Survey.

It shows that farmers across the board struggled to cope with the difficulties presented by severe weather conditions in 2018.

The average farm family income dropped by 21% to €23,483, but as low as €8,000 on suckler farms.

A long winter, followed by an extremely dry Summer, seriously affected grass growth in 2018.

As a result, there was a substantial increase in the volume of purchased feed and fodder needed on grassland farmers, with average feed expenditure up 34% .

Dairy farms incurred the largest income fall last year, with a 31% drop in incomes to an average of just over €61,000 - down from almost €89,000 the previous year.

Sheep farmers also saw an income reduction last year, with higher than normal levels of feed and fertiliser use - average sheep farm income fell by 21% to €13,769.

The results expose the fragility of farm incomes, and should serve as a wake-up call at Government and EU level, according to the IFA President Joe Healy .

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