Agri-stats underline
decline in dairy farmer incomes

The latest agricultural statistics from Census 2011 released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) indicate that there are 2,601 farms in County Longford. Out of that, the total area farmed amounted to 72,733 hectares with 114,923 cattle, 38,782 sheep and over 1,500 horses registered on stock levels.

The latest agricultural statistics from Census 2011 released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) indicate that there are 2,601 farms in County Longford. Out of that, the total area farmed amounted to 72,733 hectares with 114,923 cattle, 38,782 sheep and over 1,500 horses registered on stock levels.

The latest information also revealed that there were 148 farmers in the county under the age of 35; 451 aged 35-44; 626 aged 45-54; 680 aged 55-64 and 694 over the age of 65.

In Co Leitrim there are 3,673 farms registered in the county with 92,155 heactres farmed under selected crops.

There were 68,795 cattle and 121,793 sheep registered on stock levels. There were 226 farmers under the age of 35 while 1,051 farmers are currently aged 65 and over.

In Co Roscommon there are 6,313 farms with 171,293 hectares farmed under selected crops that included cereals and potatoes. 285 farmers in the county are under the age of 35, while 1,840 are 65 and over.

In Co Westmeath, according to the latest CSO figures, 3,459 farms are accounted for with a total farming area of 128,371 hectares tallied. A total of 204 farmers are under the age of 35, while 895 are aged 65 and over.

In Co Cavan there are a total of 5,282 farms in the county with just under 140,000 hectares being farmered under various crops. A total of 328 Cavan farmers are under the age of 35, while 1,313 are 65 years and over.

Speaking on the latest statistics, ICMSA pointed to “a dramatic slump” in dairy farming incomes and the subsequent impact on farm families, as a direct result of the outcome.

“These CSO figures highlight the dramatic slump in dairy farmer incomes in 2012 and in ICMSA’s opinion, may even have underestimated the problem,” President, John Comer said, adding that there had aleady been a reduction of €238m on milk output.

“In addition, farm input costs have increased dramatically - and in particular with feed. ICMSA believes that this has been under-estimated in the advance estimate, and is likely to increase substantially.”

The organisation’s president went on to say that the latest figures did not “accurately reflect” the pressure on farmers at this time, and warned that it was very likely that dairy farmer’s income would fall by at least 30% before this year is out.