The average income on tillage farms rose by over €25,000 to nearly €59,000 in 2021 which was more than the increase seen by dairy, sheep and cattle farmers put together, Teagasc National Farm Survey results show.

This figure is a 50% hike on the best year over the last five years, which was 2018 when the average tillage income was €40,650.

This excludes the ‘mixed livestock ’ category, which only accounts for 1% of farmers surveyed.

Director of Teagasc Frank O’Mara told the Irish Farmers Journal: “We saw average tillage incomes increase to almost €60,000 which is a very good rebound from the previous year.”

The increase, he said, was on the foot of good weather which lead to higher yields of crops and higher prices for grain in 2021.


Emma Dillon, an economic analyst with Teagasc, said that 2021 saw the beginning of the increase in the inflationary cost environment.

“We saw the increase in feed, fuel and fertiliser, but thankfully we saw the farmgate prices and the output value overall increasing so it counter-balanced that to a great degree,” Dillon said.

She added that both dairy and tillage sectors saw “healthy increases” in farm incomes.

While there was lower levels of income on the other systems, sheep farmers received highest incomes on record of over €20,000, Dillon said.

Commodity prices

Higher commodity prices across most farm enterprises were the main driver of the increase in farm incomes in 2021, the Teagasc review concluded.

Dairy farmer income rose by €18,300 on 2020, sheep and suckler farmer income both increased by €2,500 while farmers in the ‘cattle other’ category saw an increase of almost €900. This system comprises of mainly beef finishing farms but also includes farms selling store cattle.