IFA reacts to CSO’s farm income estimate

IFA President Tim Cullinan has said the preliminary estimate from the Central Statistics Office showing an increase of 18 per cent in farm income could be a very different picture in 12 months’ time.

He said the rate at which input costs are rising threatens to erode any improvement in price that farmers received during 2021.

“Fertiliser costs, in particular, are rising at an unsustainable rate. Prices to farmers have increased by over 200 per cent in the last six months. They have seen the price of UAN increase by 228 per cent since last year, with urea now quoted at €900/t,” he said.

The IFA President said some of the increases in sectors such as cattle, sheep and tillage have to be seen in the context of historically low prices to producers, and in the case of tillage, a poor year in 2020.

“The increase in the livestock sector is well below the average and comes off a very low base. It underlines the importance of direct supports for livestock producers,” he said.

“Overall, what the CSO estimate says is that volatility is becoming more pronounced and that it will have an increasing impact on farm families. The Teagasc Outlook released earlier this week is already talking about substantial reductions in farm incomes for 2022”.

Tim Cullinan said the focus of IFA’s submission to the Department of Agriculture on CAP is primarily on farm viability.

“Farm businesses need certainty and policymakers cannot introduce desktop solutions that fail to take account of the impact on incomes,” he concluded.