Despite a significant drop in incomes this year, Teagasc has predicted that the average farm income will increase by 30% to €32,200 in 2024.

This recovery will be largely driven by improved incomes in the dairy and tillage sectors after earnings in these sectors fell in 2023. This year, Teagasc estimates that the average farm income is down 44% compared to 2022, with lower milk prices, lower harvest prices and yields key drivers of this decrease in profits.

However, although there is positivity on the horizon for farmers in terms of next year’s incomes, head of economics at Teagasc Trevor Donnellan said that the battle to control inflation remains.

“The idea on the part of the central bank has been to try and slow down the rate of inflation which has been quite rampant with respect to recent history over the last few years. It’s quite the challenging task,” Donnellan told Teagasc’s annual outlook conference in Ashtown in Tuesday.

With the sharp decline in milk prices and with average milk production costs of close to 37c/l in 2023, it is estimated that the average dairy farm income will be down 60% to €59,000.

The average tillage farm income is also forecast to be approximately 60% lower in 2023 than in 2022.

Meanwhile, the average income on suckler farms is estimated to have increased by €2,000 or 24% in 2023 and brings the average suckler farm income up to about €10,300. The average income on sheep farms in 2023 has also increased and it is estimated to be around 4% higher than in 2022 at €17,000, according to Teagasc.

Remaining unchanged for 2023 is the average income for beef finishers in 2023 which is forecast at about €18,600.