July 23rd 2014
ICSA President Patrick Kent says that final figures from the Teagasc National Farm Survey 2013 highlight yet again the serious difficulties facing suckler farmers and beef finishers.
“The Teagasc figures confirm that, on average, net losses on suckling enterprises were 167% higher in 2013 than in 2012,” said Mr. Kent. “Suckler farmers lost an average of €123 per hectare, which is more than twice the level of the average negative net margin in 2012. In terms of loss per cow, the figure was €171, more than twice the 2012 figure and clearly representing an unsustainable level of losses.”
“Cattle finishers also fared badly, generating on average a net loss of €133 per hectare in 2013. This loss per hectare is 166% higher than that incurred in 2012. Of even greater concern is the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any end to this crisis in sight, with the Teagasc Mid-Year Outlook predicting a further decline in margins for cattle finishers this year despite lower costs of production.”
“While the sheep figures do at least show a profit, the drop of 75% in net margin per hectare, from €165 in 2012 to €41 last year is cause for concern,” continued Mr. Kent, noting that this decline in profitability was driven by large increases in direct and overhead costs.
“All the above figures compare very unfavourably with the dairy sector, where net margin per hectare was up from €783 to €1,290, an increase of 64%. Unless action is taken to restore profitability to the drystock sector, what is the future for these farm systems?”