The average family farm income rose by 9% in Ireland in 2020 to €25,662, the Teagasc National Farm Survey 2020 has shown.

In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, incomes across the various farm systems in Ireland either held, or improved in 2020, the Teagasc annual review of farm incomes has concluded.

The survey which is representative of over 93,000 farms in Ireland also highlights that production costs were lower in 2020 as key farm input prices fell.


Across the key outputs categories, lamb prices performed best, recording a 13% increase in 2020 compared with 2019.

Beef and dairy farmers benefitted from marginally higher cattle and milk prices in 2020. Cereal prices were up significantly in 2020, reflecting market supply and demand conditions.

Lower dairy system production costs, coupled with a further increase in milk output volume and slightly higher milk prices, resulted in an average dairy farm income of €74,236 in 2020, an increase of 13% on the 2019 level.

Overall, the average cattle rearing income of €9,037 in 2020, was unchanged on the 2019 level.

In the ‘cattle other’ system, which comprises mainly of beef finishing farms, but also includes farms selling store cattle, production costs also fell in 2020.

In combination this resulted in an average income of €14,813 in 2020 for the cattle other system, an increase of 8% on the 2019 level.

Sheep system

The sheep system also benefitted from lower production costs in 2020 and also experienced a strong increase in the value of farm output, which was driven by higher lamb prices.

In common with other drystock systems, on average the level of direct payments for sheep farm was down slightly. The average income on sheep farms increased by 24% in 2020 relative to the 2019 level to €18,383 in 2020.

The tillage system experienced poor production conditions in 2020, which led to lower crop yields. In line with other sectors, input prices for tillage farms decreased in 2020.

However, there was also a significant increase in cereal prices in 2020, partially offsetting the impact of the drop in crop yields. The average income on tillage farms fell by 1% in 2020 to €32,525.

The full Teagasc National Farm Survey 2020 is available here.