Having an off-farm source of income remains a major factor for beef farmers applying for credit union farm loans. Almost nine in every 10 beef farmer loan applicants had some form of off-farm income last year.

Beef farmers represented 68% of the farm loans granted by credit unions last year, with dairy farmers accounting for another 20%. Some 61% of these dairy farmers had an off-farm job.

Cultivate stated that the average loan sought by dairy farmers in 2023 amounted to just over €41,000, while the equivalent was €30,600 for beef farmers. The most common debt level for beef farmers was €65,000, while dairy farmer applicants averaged more than double this figure at €162,000. These debt levels were back 9% on 2022.

The average dairy farmer applying for Cultivate loans owned an area of 41ha, while the average for beef farmers came to 27ha.