THE average annual income from suckler farming in the West was under €10,000 in 2017, according to the latest Teagasc farm income data released last week.
Smaller sized farms in the West, lower stock numbers and weather/soil disadvantages are the main reasons why the suckler income in Connacht and Ulster has fallen so far behind other parts of Ireland.
In the Eastern/Midlands region the annual income from sucklers is almost double that of Connacht, standing at €18,136 for 2017 while in the South the average suckler income came in at €14,394.
The ‘picture’ for what are described as ‘other cattle’ enteprises – mainly dry stock and fatteners – is somewhat better for West and North regions with an average annual income of €12,436.
However, that’s still over €7,000 less than the annual income of ‘other cattle’ farmers in the South who had average annual incomes of just under €20,000 – €19,789. The figure for the East and Midlands region was €16,571.
“The average income on cattle rearing farms (sucklers) was highest in the Eastern/Midlands region, being almost twice that of the figure for the North and West.
“This is reflective of the larger average farm size and livestock numbers in that region. Investment and debt levels are also higher [in the East and Midlands],” Teagasc state.
The average farm size of suckler farms in the West and North is 32 hectares (79 acres) as compared to 42ha (104 acres) in the East and Midlands and 36 hectares (89 acres).
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.