Warning of income challenge next year

IFA President, Joe Healy ... ‘just too many loops.’
IFA President, Joe Healy ... ‘just too many loops.’

AN increase in dairy incomes through 2017 should not overshadow the very real income pressures on the other farming sectors, IFA President Joe Healy has stressed this week.

The IFA boss was reacting to last week’s farm income figures from Teagasc that indicated average farm income across the country was up by 30% this year – €31,900 as compared to €23,500 in 2016.

“We have had a number of very difficult years for all sectors. While the past year saw a significant improvement for Irish dairy farmers, it is important that the increase on the dairy side does not overshadow the very real income pressures in other sectors,” said Joe Healy.

He also pointed out that in the Teagasc Annual Review and Outlook for 2018, there were warnings of a challenging year ahead for all sectors with either an income drop on the way ‘or at best’ price stability.

The Teagasc farm income report for 2017 showed that the average dairy income for the past year had shot up by €40,000 to an average figure of €90,000.

However, in the other main farming sectors such as beef, sheep and tillage, any increase in incomes was very small through the course of the past year. According to Joe Healy, incomes in the drystock and tillage sectors remained ‘unsustainably low’ while the fodder crisis now facing many farmers in the West of Ireland wasn’t factored into the 2017 Teagasc figures.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.