Farm incomes rose last year by 32% according to the state farm body Teagasc.

However, they say this is likely to have been a short-lived spike in income because global prices for some commodities, especially dairy products, are already on the way down.

Teagasc say that average farm income last year was €24,800 - a record level. However, on more commercial full-time farms the average income was around €56,000.

Incomes on dairy farms increased last year by 38%, and incomes on cattle farms rose by 50% - this was from a very low base and the average income for cattle farmers was only €11,000.

Lamb prices were also up last year, but tillage incomes remained relatively unchanged.

Teagasc say that farmers used the favourable market conditions last year to repay debt, and the figure for farm debt of €1.8 billion was 20% down on the previous year. However, the majority of farms have no farm-business related debt.

Farmers are still confident about the future with new investment last year of €666 million, mainly on dairy and tillage farms.

The head of the Teagasc National Farm survey, Dr Thia Hennessy, said incomes this year could fall this year by 30% to more normal levels.