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CSO statistical release, , 11am

Output, Input and Income in Agriculture

Final Estimate 2019

 201720182019Annual Change (%)
 € million20182019
Goods output8,0868,2197,9611.6-3.1
Intermediate consumption5,3186,0385,64813.5-6.5
Net subsidies1,6501,7901,8378.52.6
Operating surplus3,4222,9453,055-14.03.8

Agricultural operating surplus increased by 3.8% in 2019

Output, Input and Income in Agriculture - Final Estimate 2017-2019 Figure 1
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The CSO’s final estimate of operating surplus in agriculture in 2019 shows an annual increase of €110.7m (+3.8%), up from €2,944.5m in 2018 to €3,055.2m. This increase is in line with the trends shown by other CSO short-term indicators in agriculture.
The main factor contributing to this change was a decrease of €390.5m (-6.5%) in expenditure on intermediate consumption. See Table 1.

An analysis of the results for 2019 compared to 2018 identified the following main changes:

  • Despite an increase of 3.6% in the volume of goods produced, falling prices resulted in the value of goods output at producer prices decreasing by €258.0m (-3.1%), from €8,218.9m in 2018 to €7,960.9m in 2019.
  • While the volume of crops produced by Irish farmers increased by 7.8%, lower prices resulted in the value of crops falling by €228.9m (-10.8%), from €2,126.0m to €1,897.1m. The main crops contributing to this decline in production were forage plants which, because of falling prices, decreased in value by €276.3m (-20.6%).
  • Despite the volume of Milk production increasing by 5.1%, lower prices resulted in the value of milk increasing by just €45.2m (+1.8%), from €2,556.7m to €2,601.9m.
  • Although the volume of cattle produced increased by 1.9%, lower prices resulted in the value of cattle decreasing by €111.1m (-4.9%), from €2,262.2m to €2,151.1m.
  • While there was very little change in the volume of pigs produced in 2019 (+0.4%), large price increases resulted in the value of pig production increasing by €84.0m (+18.3%), from €459.1m to €543.0m.
  • Total intermediate consumption fell by €390.5m (-6.5%), decreasing from €6,038.2m to €5,647.7m.
  • The cost of forage plants consumed by Irish farmers fell by €273.4m (-20.5%) in 2019, down from €1,331.8m to €1,058.4m.
  • The volume of feedingstuffs consumed on Irish farms decreased by 13.8% and as a result, expenditure on feedingstuffs fell by €184.6m (-11.0%) to €1,489.9m.
  • The volume of fertilisers consumed by Irish farmers fell by 7.6% in 2019 but price increases resulted in the cost of these fertilisers decreasing by just €3.8m (-0.7%), from €582.1m to €578.3m.
  • Expenditure on other goods and services increased by €37.6m (+7.3%), rising from €514.9m to €552.5m. 

This release updates the Preliminary Estimate of Output, Input and Income in Agriculture published by the CSO in March 2020.

Table 1 Output, Input and Income in Agriculture, 2017 - 2019€m
DescriptionEstimated Value (at current prices)
Livestock (incl. stock changes)3,592.43,453.73,380.7
Livestock products2,668.72,639.22,683.0
Other livestock products74.682.681.2
Crops (incl. stock changes)1,824.62,126.01,897.1
Other fresh vegetables103.4109.1105.4
Fresh fruit54.451.355.1
Other crops79.280.582.3
Forage plants1,105.71,340.31,064.0
Goods output at producer prices8,085.78,218.97,960.9
Contract work379.7453.2461.2
Subsidies on products60.565.1150.6
Taxes on products49.551.251.1
Agricultural output at basic prices8,476.48,686.08,521.7
Intermediate consumption5,317.96,038.25,647.7
Energy and lubricants390.2424.1439.6
Maintenance and repairs473.5474.0489.9
Other goods and services517.7514.9552.5
Crop protection products82.673.380.7
Veterinary expenses303.0308.5309.2
Forage plants1,101.91,331.81,058.4
Contract work379.7453.2461.2
Gross value added at basic prices3,158.52,647.82,874.0
Fixed capital consumption849.3911.8970.1
Machinery, equipment, etc.438.5463.6488.6
Farm buildings410.8448.2481.5
Net value added at basic prices2,309.21,736.01,903.9
Other subsidies less taxes on production1,638.51,776.21,737.6
Factor income3,947.73,512.33,641.5
Compensation of employees525.6567.7586.2
Operating surplus3,422.02,944.53,055.2
Interest less FISIM20.157.082.1
Land rental239.8278.5306.4
Entrepreneurial income3,162.12,609.12,666.7
1FISIM : Financial Intermediation Services Indirectly Measured. (See Background Notes).
Table 2 Selected Volume Indices, 2017 - 2019
Base year: 2015=100
Goods output at producer prices106.4106.6110.4
Livestock products113.6119.0124.9
Fresh vegetables96.496.197.6
Intermediate consumption108.1114.7109.9
Energy and lubricants100.6100.4104.1
Maintenance and repairs108.8106.4109.3
Other goods and services102.0102.3109.6
Crop protection products107.194.3103.8
Veterinary expenses110.3109.0107.0
Gross value added at basic prices105.495.1119.1
1Including changes in stocks

Background Notes


Three sets of estimates are prepared in each 12-month period. The first or Advance estimate is generally released in early December of the reference year. This is based on the data available at the time, which is not fully complete. The Advance estimate is updated in March of the following year when the Preliminary estimate is published. This incorporates all additional up-to-date information that has become available by that time. In June, the Final estimate of the agricultural accounts is prepared based on the complete set of data. The methodology used for producing accounts for agriculture is based on the European System of Accounts (ESA 2010). For details of methodology and description of data sources please see the “Methodology” link. 

Goods output at producer prices

This is the total output of goods produced and sold by the agricultural sector during the year valued at producer prices. It does not include the value of services provided, i.e. contract work.     

Producer price   

This is the price received by the farmer for his agricultural produce. It is sometimes referred to as the farm-gate or ex-farm price. It excludes VAT.

Agricultural output at basic prices

This is a sum of goods output plus the value of services provided (contract work) valued at basic prices.

Basic price

The basic price corresponds to the producer price plus any subsidies directly linked to a product minus any taxes on products. VAT is excluded.

Subsidies and taxes on products

Subsidies and taxes on agricultural products are those paid or levied per unit of a good or service produced or exported. An example of subsidies on product is the beef data and genomics premium. The bovine disease eradication levy is an example of a tax on products. 

Contract work 

Activities performed by agricultural contractors directly linked to the production of agricultural products (for example harvesting) are an integral part of agriculture. The value of such work is included both as an output and as intermediate consumption. Estimates of the input costs incurred by agricultural contractors in the provision of agricultural services are included under the appropriate intermediate consumption categories, as well as in the compensation of employee's figure.

Intermediate consumption

This is the value of all goods and services used as inputs in the production process excluding fixed assets (capital goods), whose consumption is recorded as fixed capital consumption (depreciation). Intermediate consumption excludes new or existing acquired fixed assets, e.g. tractors, agricultural machinery etc. They are recorded as gross fixed capital formation (GFCF). Intermediate consumption includes expenditure on contract work and forage plants, even if consumed within the same agricultural holding.

Forage plants     

The production of forage plants is valued as part of output. Silage and hay are the main items in this category. Direct sales of cereals between farms and use of cereals within farms are also included under forage plants. These items are also treated as intermediate consumption with minor exceptions, such as sales of straw to racing stables. 


Financial intermediaries (mainly banks) charge explicit commissions and fees for their services to customers, as well as implicit ones by paying and charging different rates of interest to borrowers and lenders. The revenue from the margin on lending and borrowing by financial intermediaries is described as financial intermediation services indirectly measured (FISIM). The inclusion of FISIM in the table is in line with recommended EU national accounting conventions. It is a reallocation to intermediate consumption of part of the interest paid by farmers. While the inclusion of FISIM will increase intermediate consumption and decrease gross value added, it will decrease, by the same amount, the figure shown for interest paid.

Gross value added at basic prices

This is the difference between the output at basic prices and intermediate consumption. It is a measure of gross income before depreciation, subsidies and taxes and compensation of employees.

Net value added at basic prices

Net value added is calculated by subtracting expenditure on fixed capital consumption (depreciation) from gross value added.

Fixed capital consumption

This relates to the foreseeable wear and tear and obsolescence of fixed capital goods. It is calculated on the basis of the probable economic life of the asset. It is not calculated for breeding livestock or for non-produced assets such as land.

Factor Income

Factor income is a sum of net value added plus other subsidies on production less taxes on production. It is sometimes referred to as value added at factor cost.

Other subsidies and taxes on production

Other subsidies on production are subsidies other than those on products. Examples are the Basic Payment Scheme, the Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme and GLAS. Taxes on production consist of VAT over/under-compensation for farmers, who have opted for the flat rate VAT system, motor and machinery tax paid by farmers. Other subsidies less taxes on production are not included in the calculation of output but are included in the calculation of factor income and operating surplus.

Operating surplus

The operating surplus is calculated by subtracting compensation of employees from factor income. The figure is comprised of the operating surplus earned by farmers and that earned by agricultural contractors. It is an estimate of income before deductions for interest payments on borrowed capital, land annuities and rent paid by farmers to landowners for the use of their land.

Compensation of employees

This includes remuneration in cash and in kind. It does not include the remuneration of work undertaken by the farm owner or by non-salaried family members.

Entrepreneurial Income

Entrepreneurial income is comprised of operating surplus less interest payments on borrowed capital and land rental paid by farmers to landowners.

Valuation of stock changes

For each category, the difference between closing year stocks and opening year stocks is valued at the average producer price for the year.

Volume indices  

To calculate the volume indices all items of output and input are valued at constant base year prices, i.e. by applying base year prices to current year quantities. The volume index for 2019 may then be calculated by comparing the value in 2019 at average 2015 prices to the value in 2015 at average 2015 prices. Volume indices allow one to estimate the changes in production and expenditure, as if the prices did not change since the base year. This separates the effects of volume and price changes on output, input and income.


Individual figures have been rounded independently and the sum of component items therefore may not necessarily add to the totals shown. 

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