I was taken aback when I saw the Teagasc diagram reproduced on page 2 of last week’s Irish Farmers Journal. Broadly, it showed a very significant rise in the value of farm output since 2002, but absolutely static farm incomes in money terms.

In other words, an ever-increasing proportion of the value of what we produced went out again in the form of increased costs. Most of the major inputs have seen steady increases – fuel, fertilizer and, I suspect, the full range of services, and while the Central Statistics Office does an agricultural output and input price series, the sector seems slow to zone in on the components that make up these indices and does not compile international comparisons of the varying trends.