Farm costs rose by 0.3% in March and now stand 5.2% higher than last year, according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Meanwhile, prices paid to farmers fell by 0.3% that month and are now 0.7% lower than a year ago, further shrinking the space available to make a margin.

Jump in diesel price

Diesel was one of the the fastest rising costs, jumping by 2.6% in March compared with the previous month.

The price of seed, too, was hiked by 9.2% in one month.

Fertiliser and feed prices were back marginally, but remained stubbornly high.

Fertilisers were 0.5% cheaper than in February, but still 7.9% dearer than last year.

Similarly, feed prices reduced by just 0.1% during March, but remained 9.4% higher than a year ago.

Farmgate prices

Sheep prices now stand 12.4% lower than last year and cattle 9% lower, with no improvement in March.

Pigs were the only stock seeing a price improvement that month, up 2.3%.

Milk prices were down 1.1% during the month, ending up 3.5% lower than last year.

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