Where is the most profitable farming region in Ireland?

According to Teagasc’s National Farm, regions where dairying is most prevalent are generally more profitable and have a lower reliance on direct payments.

The south-east remained the most profitable farming region in 2016.

Farm income varies widely by region and is driven by scale, system, profitability and direct payments.

The average farm income across the 83,377 farms represented by the National Farm Survey was €24,060 last year; a 9{b28040870e2dde01f25bc5b483275391226143b34751c4bb8f1feeecaec925a1} decline on the year previous.

The south-east saw the highest average farm income, at €38,561 but is however, down 6{b28040870e2dde01f25bc5b483275391226143b34751c4bb8f1feeecaec925a1} from €42,141 in 2015. Direct payments as a percentage share of farm income in the region saw an increase of 9{b28040870e2dde01f25bc5b483275391226143b34751c4bb8f1feeecaec925a1}, bringing the percentage share to 63{b28040870e2dde01f25bc5b483275391226143b34751c4bb8f1feeecaec925a1} in 2016.

In the south, the average farm income was €27,781 in 2016. Direct payments made up 59{b28040870e2dde01f25bc5b483275391226143b34751c4bb8f1feeecaec925a1} of farm income in the region.

Farmers in the west of the country are, on average, 100{b28040870e2dde01f25bc5b483275391226143b34751c4bb8f1feeecaec925a1} 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{b28040870e2dde01f25bc5b483275391226143b34751c4bb8f1feeecaec925a1} drop in average farm income in 2016. The south followed with a 13{b28040870e2dde01f25bc5b483275391226143b34751c4bb8f1feeecaec925a1} decline in farm income.

The border counties are the most disadvantaged and the region has the lowest farm income and the highest rate of dependency on direct payments.

income-by-regionSource: Teagasc

The farming population in Ireland includes a considerable amount 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.

The incidence of off-farm employment varies considerably region-to-region. It remains most prevalent in the west, despite a 2{b28040870e2dde01f25bc5b483275391226143b34751c4bb8f1feeecaec925a1} reduction from the previous year.
Some 42{b28040870e2dde01f25bc5b483275391226143b34751c4bb8f1feeecaec925a1} of farm-holders in the west worked off-farm in 2016.

In contrast, only 22{b28040870e2dde01f25bc5b483275391226143b34751c4bb8f1feeecaec925a1} of farm-holders in the south and south-west worked off-farm last year.

Source: Teagasc

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