The latest AIB Agri Tracker survey shows optimism is increasing among farmers, with dairy farmers by far the most upbeat. Responses showed 65% of them were very or fairly optimistic, against 38% for the farming community as a whole.

Twenty per cent of farmers were very or fairly pessimistic, unchanged from the previous year. The survey of 1,022 farmers conducted by Ipsos over the last four months of 2022 showed rising input costs were the biggest concern in the industry, with 74% citing it as a key challenge.

Bureaucracy passed climate and environment for second place on the list of worries, rising three points to 37%. Environmental, weather and climate change challenges dropped five points to 36%.

Looking ahead, farmers under 40 were by far the most ambitious, with 36% saying they plan to grow their farm business compared to 17% of those over 40.

Of those who plan to make an investment in the next three years, 61% say they will do it through own resources, with the balance saying they will avail of a bank loan.