Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) president Tim Cullinan has said that because of high input costs, the preliminary estimate from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showing an increase of 18% in farm income could be a very different picture in 12 months’ time.

This comes on the back of figures released by the CSO which showed that agricultural operating surplus for 2021 grew by 18% relative to 2020 and 32% compared to 2019.

The Irish Farmers Journal reported on Wednesday that the main outputs driving the increase in surpluses are milk and cattle.

Input costs

Cullinan said: "The rate at which input costs are rising threatens to erode any improvement in price that farmers received during 2021.

"Fertiliser costs, in particular, are rising at an unsustainable rate. Prices to farmers have increased by over 200% in the last six months.

"They have seen the price of UAN increase by 228% since last year, with urea now quoted at €900/t," he said.

The IFA president said some of the increases in sectors such as cattle, sheep and tillage have to be viewed in the context of historically low prices to producers and, in the case of tillage, a poor year in 2020.

"The increase in the livestock sector is well below the average and comes off a very low base. It underlines the importance of direct supports for livestock producers," he said.

Cullinan said that, overall, what the CSO estimate says is that volatility is becoming more pronounced and that it will have an increasing impact on farm families.

"The Teagasc Outlook released earlier this week is already talking about substantial reductions in farm incomes for 2022,” he said.


Tim Cullinan said the focus of the IFA’s submission to the Department of Agriculture this week on CAP is primarily about farm viability.

"Farm businesses need certainty and policymakers cannot introduce desktop solutions that fail to take account of the impact on incomes," he concluded.