Sat, 02 Dec 2023

Northern Ireland agricultural incomes in 2022

Northern Ireland Executive
27 Apr 2023, 21 GMT+10

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has published the first (provisional) estimate for farm incomes in 2022. Revisions have been made to previous years.

Aggregate Agricultural Income

Provisional figures indicate that the 'Total Income from Farming' (TIFF) in Northern Ireland increased by 17.4% (11.3% in real terms) from Pound 515 million in 2021 to Pound 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 income measured at the sector level.  Graph 1 shows TIFF from 1990 to 2022.

Total Gross Output for agriculture in Northern Ireland was 23% higher at Pound 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%. These figures are for the calendar year and therefore they represent the outturn across two harvest years.  Graph 2 shows Northern Ireland Agricultural Gross Output from 1990 to 2022.

Dairying remains the largest contributor to the total value of Gross Output at Pound 1.13 billion in 2022; an increase of 40% between 2021 and 2022. The annual average farm-gate milk price increased by 41% to 44.5 pence per litre 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 Pound 603 million in 2022.  The total number of animals slaughtered increased by 9.3% in 2022, whereas the average carcase weights for clean and cull animals were 0.9% and 1.9% lower respectively.  These changes resulted in the volume of meat produced being 8.0% higher in 2022.  The average producer price for finished clean cattle was Pound 4.17 per kilogram in 2022 while the average producer price for cull animals was Pound 3.15 per kilogram. These prices were 9% and 17% higher than their respective averages for 2021. In addition to these changes, there were also a decrease in the number of store cattle imported to Northern Ireland in 2022.  

The value of output from sheep increased by 6% to Pound 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 22 kilograms.  Volume of sheep meat produced increased 7% in 2022.  The average producer price decreased by 0.1% to Pound 5.35 per kg.    

The value of output in the poultry sector increased by 16% to Pound 376 million in 2022 while the egg sector increased by 18% to Pound 148 million. The value of pig output also increased by 24% to Pound 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 Pound 109 million.  This was mainly as a result of increases in grain and potato prices in 2022. The value of output for cereals increased by 35% to Pound 64 million whereas the value of output for potatoes increased by 37% to Pound 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 Pound 96 million. Mushrooms and flowers are the main contributors to this sector in value terms, with a combined estimated output value of Pound 57 million.

The estimated value of the 2022 direct payments (Basic Payment Scheme and Young Farmers' Payment) was Pound 297 million, representing a decrease of 4%, when compared with the 2021 payments.

The total value of Gross Inputs increased by 24% in 2022, to Pound 2.18 billion.  Graph 3 shows the breakdown of Northern Ireland Agricultural Gross Input from 1990 to 2022.    Feedstuffs costs, which accounted for 54% of the total Gross Input estimate, increased by 22% to Pound 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. There was also a 24% rise in the value of total lime purchases, with the result that total expenditure on fertilisers and lime increased by 102% to Pound 194 million.

Total machinery expenses increased by 31% to Pound 208 million in 2022, mainly as a result of an 58% increase in the cost of fuel and oils.

A detailed document covering the period 2017-2022 and containing all the key figures used to derive TIFF in Northern Ireland can be downloaded from the DAERA website.

Estimates for the United Kingdom will not be released until 25 May 2023 and a breakdown of TIFF for the UK will not be available until then.

Farm level incomes

Farm Business Income by farm type for 2021/22 with forecasts for 2022/23 are presented in table 1.  These income results are based on farm accounts collected as part of the Northern Ireland Farm Business Survey (FBS).  This is a representative sample of farms larger than 0.5 Standard Labour Requirements.  The income figures presented are for accounting years with an average end date of mid-February.

Farm Business Income measured across all farm types is expected to increase from an average Pound 43,100 in 2021/22 to Pound 47,305 in 2022/23, i.e. an increase of Pound 4,205 or 10% per farm. 

Farm Business Income is expected to increase for Dairy, Pigs and Mixed farm types between 2021/22 and 2022/23.  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 2022/23 is only marginally higher compared to the low levels experienced in 2021/22.  Cereal, Cattle & Sheep (LFA) and Cattle & Sheep (lowland) farm incomes 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.  A detailed analysis of farm incomes by type and size of farm in 2021/22 will be provided in the report 'Farm Incomes in Northern Ireland 2021/22' which will be published on the DAERA website in June 2023.

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