The value of the entire agricultural sector’s output rose by €391.8m from 2019 to 2020, with over one third of this increase in total output value coming from beef production, according to figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The 5.5% overall value increase in the national milk output value was influenced by both higher milk prices and larger volumes supplied to the marketplace, the CSO also found.

Sheep was the enterprise type that posted the largest proportional increase in output value, growing by 16.3% year on year.

One third of this increase in the value of sheep production can be attributed to larger output volumes in 2020.


Higher prices helped to partially offset the 16.5% contraction seen in the output volume of cereals last year, as barley and potatoes emerged as crops faced with particularly steep output value decreases relative to the year previous.

However, this did not prevent the overall value of crop production from growing, as agricultural outputs of this general class increased marginally in 2020.

Input costs

The volume of feed used in the farming of livestock grew by 4% in 2020, with fertiliser usage on farms also increasing slightly.

Fertiliser price decreases over the year offset the rise in the use of the input.

Energy costs in agriculture dropped last year, with maintenance and repair costs almost consuming the entirety of these cost savings.

To find out how COVID-19 has affected input price trends this year, click here.