Farm incomes in Northern Ireland have increased by 17.4%, according to figures published today (Thursday, April 27) by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
The figures show that the ‘Total Income from Farming’ (TIFF) in Northern Ireland increased by 17.4% from £515 million in 2021 to £605 million in 2022.
TIFF represents the return on own labour, management input and own capital invested for all those with an entrepreneurial involvement in farming. It represents farm incomes measured at the sector level.
Figures relating to agricultural output in Northern Ireland have also seen increases. The total gross output for agriculture was 23% higher at £3.07 billion in 2022.
There was a 26% increase in the value of output from the livestock sector, while field crops increased by 31% and horticulture increased by 12%.
DAERA said dairying remains the largest contributor to the total value of Northern Ireland’s gross output at £1.13 billion in 2022 – an increase of 40% between 2021 and 2022.
The annual average farm-gate milk price increased by 41% to 44.5p/L while the volume of raw milk produced in Northern Ireland decreased by 0.6% to 2.5 billion litres.
The output value of cattle was 16% higher at £603 million in 2022. The total number of animals slaughtered increased by 9.3% in 2022, whereas the average carcass weights for clean and cull animals were 0.9% and 1.9% lower respectively.
DAERA said these changes resulted in the volume of meat produced being 8% higher in 2022. The average producer price for finished clean cattle was £4.17/kg in 2022 while the average producer price for cull animals was £3.15/kg.
These prices were 9% and 17% higher than their respective averages for 2021.
The value of output from sheep increased by 6% to £106 million in 2022. The total number of sheep slaughtered increased by 6% in 2022 whereas the average carcass weight increased by 0.8% to 22kg.
Volume of sheep meat produced increased 7% in 2022. The average producer price decreased by 0.1% to £5.35/kg.
The value of output in the poultry sector increased by 16% to £376 million in 2022 while the egg sector increased by 18% to £148 million.
The value of pig output also increased by 24% to £259 million. The poultry sector recorded a 6% decrease in its production volume for 2022, whereas the pigs and eggs sectors recorded a 4% and 5% increase in their respective production volumes when compared with their previous year levels.
All intensive sectors recorded an increase in their producer prices for 2022 with poultry up 25%, eggs up 13%, and pigs up 19% when compared to the previous year.
The total output value for field crops increased by 31% in 2022 to £109 million. This was mainly as a result of increases in grain and potato prices in 2022, DAERA said.
The value of output for cereals increased by 35% to £64 million whereas the value of output for potatoes increased by 37% to £27 million. Output values for field crops are across a calendar year and include production from two harvests.
The value of output recorded in the horticulture sector was higher year on year for 2022, at £96 million. Mushrooms and flowers are the main contributors to this sector in value terms, with a combined estimated output value of £57 million.
The total value of gross inputs increased by 24% in 2022, to £2.18 billion.
Feedstuff costs, which accounted for 54% of the total gross input estimate, increased by 22% to £1.18 billion in 2022.
There was a 1.3% decrease in the volume of feedstuffs purchased and a 24% increase in the average price paid per tonne.
The total cost of fertilisers in 2022 increased by 109% with a 16% decrease in the volume purchased and a 148% increase in the average price paid per tonne.
Total machinery expenses increased by 31% to £208 million in 2022, mainly as a result of an 58% increase in the cost of fuel and oils, DAERA said.
Farm level incomes
Farm business income measured across all farm types is expected to increase from an average £43,100 in 2021/2022 to £47,305 in 2022/2023 – an increase of £4,205, or 10% per farm.
Farm business income is expected to increase for dairy, pigs and mixed farm types between 2021/2022 and 2022/2023.
The increase is particularly marked for dairy farms with the higher raw milk price more than offsetting increases in input costs.
Despite increases in output prices, it is forecast that the average income of pig producers in 2022/2023 is only marginally higher compared to the low levels experienced in 2021/2022, according to DAERA.
The farm incomes in cereal, cattle and sheep LFA (less favoured area) and cattle and sheep lowland are expected to fall by 33%, 66% and 54% respectively.
It is forecast that increases in cereal and beef prices are insufficient to offset the higher input costs for these farm types.