Agriculture’s ‘operating surplus’ - the difference between the prices farmers received for their produce and the input costs they incurred - is set to increase by some 30% to €4,826m in 2022, says the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in its end-of-year estimates.

The surplus, driven mostly by increases in milk and livestock prices, has come about as farmers, for the most part, produced the same amount of food, but got paid more for it.

Overall, the prices farmers received for their produce in 2022 are estimated by the CSO to have increased by 26%, some €2,579m, to €12,685m.

Dairy leads

With almost no change in output volumes and a price increase of 46%, the value of milk production in 2022 is forecast to rise by €1,567m to €4,962m, says the CSO.

With this analysis in hand, the statistics office says milk is expected to generate 39% of the value of all agricultural output this year.

Dairy farmers enjoyed a milk price increase of 46% in 2022, says the CSO. / Damien Eagers

The value of almost all livestock is also expected to have grown in 2022, with cattle production expected to experience the largest increase. The CSO predicts that cattle prices will be up overall by 20%, some €527m, to €3,108m in 2022.

This analysis for the beef sector is based off production volumes being up by 2% and prices being up by 18%.

Pig production

Despite a projected contraction of 2% in output volumes, price increases of 13% should see the value of Irish pig production rise by some 10%, or €56m, to €612m this year.

The pig sector saw a 2% decrease in production volumes in 2022, says the CSO.

The volume of sheep production is expected to rise by 9% and when combined with price increases of 3%, it is anticipated that the overall value of sheep and lamb produced will grow by 12%, some €42m, to €405m.

Despite a 1% reduction in harvest volumes, the value of crop production is expected to increase by some 14%, €302m, to €2,438m in 2022.

This is based on the price tillage farmers received for their crops being estimated to be up 15% in 2022.

The volume of cereal production is expected to decrease by 4%, but with prices increasing by 53%, the largest price increase of all outputs, the value of cereals is projected to grow by 49%, €214m, to €649m.

Despite a minor 1% reduction in harvest volumes, the value of crop production is expected to increase by some 14%. \ David Ruffles

Poultry is the only output where values are expected to fall in 2022. A 4% increase in prices was negated by a 5% reduction in output volumes, resulting in the value of poultry produce falling by some 2%, €3m, to €185m this year.

There was 5% reduction in output volumes for the poultry sector in 2022, says the CSO. \ Philip Doyle

‘Indicator of performance’

Commenting on the CSO analysis, a statistician at its agricultural accounts and production section, Mairead Griffin, said: “This release provides an early estimate of the value of agricultural outputs, inputs, and income for 2022.

“While it is compiled with relatively limited information on volumes and prices, it nevertheless provides an early indicator of the performance of the agricultural sector.”

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