The average family farm income rose by 2% in Ireland in 2019 to €23,933, according to the latest report by Teagasc.

The results published in the Teagasc National Farm Survey are representative of over 90,000 farms in Ireland.

The report states that a number of factors were responsible for the modest increase in income, including more favourable weather conditions than 2018.

The previous year, farmers incurred a large increase in production costs due to the extreme weather conditions, which increased their spend on feed, fertiliser and silage.

The report states that the difficulties in the beef market in 2019 were offset by the provision of additional support payments in the form of the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM), while payments under the Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme (BEEP) also supported some beef farmer incomes.

It reveals that dairy farms experienced the largest cost reduction in 2019, and coupled with a further increase in milk output volume, produced an average income of €66,570 in 2019, an increase of 9% on the 2018 level.

For the cattle rearing system, which comprises of farms that are mainly specialised in suckler beef production, the report states the benefit of lower production costs in 2019 was partially offset by lower cattle prices.

However, the receipt of BEAM support on those farms participating in the scheme, combined with lower costs of production, produced an average income of €9,188 in 2019, an increase of 11% on the 2018 level.

In the 'Cattle Other' system, which are mainly beef finishing farms, but also includes farms selling store cattle, it states that production costs also fell in 2019 to €13,893, a decrease of 6% on the 2018 level.

The report reveals that sheep farms benefited from lower production costs in 2019 and did not experience as large a fall in output prices in 2019 as was experienced by beef finishers.

Many sheep farms with cattle also qualified for support under the BEAM, which added support to the incomes of those that chose to participate.

Collectively, lower costs of production and BEAM receipts in 2019 were sufficient to offset lower output prices and produced an average income of €14,604 in 2019, an increase of 9% on the 2018 level.

The report reveals that the tillage system saw much improved production conditions in 2019, which led to higher crop yields. In contrast to other sectors, production costs on tillage farms increased in 2019.

However, the biggest factor affecting incomes on tillage farms in 2019 was the large drop in cereal prices.

Lower prices in 2019 wiped out the benefit of increased crop yields.

Some tillage farms qualified for support under the BEAM measure, but even so, the average income on tillage farms fell by 15% in 2019 to €34,437.