Farm incomes increased by 34% in Northern Ireland last year, according provisional data published by DAERA on Thursday.

Across the entire industry, the total income from farming (TIFF) stood at £456m. It compares to £342m the year previous and is the second highest level on record.

The figures show that farmers actually made a profit from the business of farming last year, with TIFF sitting £159m higher than total direct support payments (£297m).

At individual farm level, DAERA expects average incomes to increase from an average of £25,935 in 2019/20 to £33,039 in 2020/21. This represents an increase of £7,104 or 27%.

When broken down by farm type, arable is the only sector expected to see lower average incomes in 2020/21. DAERA forecasts a 5% drop in average arable farm incomes to £28,969.

The biggest increase is seen in cattle and sheep farms in lowland areas, where average incomes are expected to rise by 37% to £16,227. However, despite the increase, the sector still has the lowest incomes across all farm types.

Cattle and sheep farms in less favoured areas (LFA) are forecast to see average incomes rise by 33% to £20,307. Dairy farm incomes are up 23% to £63,846 on average and incomes on pig farms are expected to rise by 21% to £72,324.

Full analysis of the figures will be included in next week’s Northern Ireland edition of the Irish Farmers Journal and on