Substantial differences in the incomes of Irish farm families last year have been highlighted by the National Farm Survey, published today by Teagasc.

The survey found that although average farm incomes were broadly stable compared with 2012, dairy farmers did particularly well, while cattle and sheep farmers suffered significant declines in income.

According to the figures, the average family farm income in Ireland is just over €25,000, while the average for dairy family farms was over €64,000.

Overall, poor weather in the spring of last year combined with the continuing impact of the 2012 fodder crisis drove farm production costs up significantly last year and this affected profitability.

Sheep farmers had a particularly tough year with their average income down 39% to just over €11,000.

Income on cattle rearing farms was down by 22% to just below €9,500.

Costs for tillage farmers remained largely stable and there was also a rise in tillage yields. Despite this however, tillage farmers were made significantly worse off due to lower prices and reductions in the area they harvested.

Farmers also suffered a cut of about 8% in direct payments, including the EU single farm payment, the disadvantaged area scheme and other subsidies.

Overall direct payments from EU farm support schemes under the Common Agriculture Policy account for three quarters of total farm income across all farms in Ireland. 

The average amount of support received is €19,173. 

Without these payments the typical income for Irish farmers last year would have been just €6,466.

Without those payments however non-dairy farmers would typically have been operating at an economic loss in 2013.