The average Irish farm has a net value of just under €1m, the fourth highest among the 28 EU member states, a comparison of 2015 farm accounting data by the European Commission has found.
UK farms are the most valuable, with a net worth of €1.8m on average, followed by the Netherlands at €1.6m and farms in Denmark at just over €1m.
By contrast, the average Romanian farm is worth just €33,700, the lowest net worth in the EU.
Irish farms hold on average €1m worth of assets, higher than the EU average of €338,600, but only in sixth position in the EU league. Nearly 90% of those assets are land, with only UK farms locking more of their value into farmland.
Meanwhile Irish farms have very low debt levels, far smaller than the EU average of €54,500. Recent CSO figures show that most farms don't have any debt, and the 35% who do owe an average of €60,000 only. Moreover, Irish farmers have secured long-term loans in much larger proportions than their counterparts in most other EU countries, who are more exposed to the need of constantly refinancing short-term loans.
As a result, Irish farms have the lowest liabilities-to-assets ratio, under 3%, described by the Commission as a sign of high solvency. "In the case of Ireland, the low liabilities-to-assets ratio mainly reflects relatively high asset values when compared to low liabilities," analysts wrote.
The high value of Irish farms is not reflected in their income ranking. The average Irish farm's net income was higher than the EU average but ranked in 11th position only, far behind the Dutch leaders.
Irish farmers were also the third most reliant on direct payments for their income, with only Greek and Finnish farmers receiving a larger proportion of their income from the BPS system.
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