|€ million||Annual Change (%)|
The CSO’s second estimate of agricultural operating surplus in 2020 shows an annual increase of €165.4m (+5.4%), up from €3,055.2m in 2019 to €3,220.7m. While the value of crop production fell by €73.5m (-3.9%), the value of livestock and livestock products grew by €196.3m (+5.8%) and €144.8m (+5.4%) respectively. Overall, the value of goods output at producer prices rose by €267.6m (+3.4%) to €8,228.5m. See Table 1.
With the exception of horses, which contracted by €39.4m (-15.4%) due to significantly lower prices and a 3.8% reduction in volume, the value of all other livestock increased in 2020. Volume growth of 1.4% combined with higher prices resulted in the value of cattle production rising from €2,151.1m in 2019 to €2,279.7m, an increase of €128.6m (+6.0%). The volume of pig production was 7.0% higher in 2020 and when combined with stronger prices, the overall result was a rise of €59.4m (+10.9%) in the value of pig output. The value of sheep production is also estimated to have grown by €40.4m (+15.5%) due to improved prices and a 4.2% increase in output volumes. Despite slightly weaker prices, a 5.0% rise in production volumes resulted in the overall value of poultry increasing by €7.2m (+4.2%) to €177.6m. The value of milk production increased by €144.3m (+5.5%) to €2,746.1m in 2020 due to a combination of improved prices and volume growth of 3.9%.
Reduced yields resulted in cereal farmers experiencing a significant decline in income in 2020. The volume of cereal production fell by 30.1% and with only minor price growth, the overall value of cereals decreased by €90.7m (-28.8%) from €314.7m in 2019 to €224.0m. Lower prices and a 1.1% reduction in output volumes caused the value of other crops to contract by €12.7m (-2.4%) to €505.8m. Forage plants were the only category of crops that increased in value. Larger output volumes (+2.6%) combined with minor price rises resulted in the overall value of forage plants increasing by €29.9m (+2.8%) to €1,093.9m in 2020.
The overall impact on the value of goods output at producer prices of the increased value of livestock and livestock products combined with the reduction in the value of crop output was a rise of €267.6m (+3.4%) to €8,228.5m. With subsidies less taxes on products estimated to decrease by €4.6m to €94.9m, the preliminary estimate of agricultural output at basic prices is a rise of €263.0m (+3.1%) to €8,784.7m.
While data on many input costs are not available yet for 2020, the preliminary estimate of intermediate consumption costs is an increase of €9.8m (+0.2%) to €5,657.5m. Although the volume of fertilisers rose by 1.2%, lower prices resulted in the overall cost of fertilisers falling by €50.5m (-8.7%) to €527.8m. The full impact of a 4.0% growth in the volume of feeding stuffs consumed on Irish farms was mitigated by price reductions and resulted in the overall cost of feeding stuffs rising by €35.5m (+2.4%) to €1,525.4m. The cost of forage plants increased by €29.9m (+2.8%) to €1,088.3m due primarily to a 2.6% growth in volume.
With the overall value of agricultural output at basic prices increasing by €263.0m, intermediate consumption costs rising by €9.8m, other subsidies less taxes on production decreasing by €54.0m (-3.1%) and compensation of employees costs growing by €33.7m (+5.8%), the net impact on operating surplus was an increase of €165.4m (+5.4%) to €3,220.7m.
The figures for 2020 are preliminary estimates which are provisional and based on the latest available data. These figures are subject to change once the complete set of data for the full year becomes available. Updated figures for 2020 will be published in the Final Estimate in June 2021.