NI farming profit rises by 26% to £456 million

Total Gross Output for the region's farming industry was 4% higher last year
Total Gross Output for the region's farming industry was 4% higher last year

The Northern Ireland farming industry saw profits jump by 26% in real terms in 2020, increasing from £342m to £456m, new figures show.

Total turnover rose by 4% to £2.2bn while input costs increased marginally to £1.5bn, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has said.

The department has published the first provisional estimate for Northern Irish farm incomes in 2020.

The figures represent the return on own labour, management input and own capital invested for all those with an entrepreneurial involvement in farming.

Total Gross Output for agriculture in Northern Ireland was 4% higher at £2.23 billion in 2020, the figures show.

There was a 4% increase in the value of output from the livestock sector, while field crops fell by 12% and horticulture was 6% lower.

Dairying remains the largest contributor to the total value of Gross Output at £667 million, an increase of 2% between 2019 and 2020.

The annual average farm-gate milk price decreased by 0.7% to 27.01 pence per litre while the volume of raw milk produced in NI increased by 2% to 2.4 billion litres.

The turnover for cattle was 2 percent higher at £438 million last year, according to DAERA's figures.

The average producer price for finished clean cattle was £3.46 per kilogram while the average producer price for cull animals was £2.43 per kilogram.

For the sheep sector, the value of output increased by 27 percent to £84 million in 2020.

And the value of output in the pig sector increased by 20% to £217 million, while the egg sector saw an 11% boost to £128 million.

Despite the increases for many sectors, revenues for field crops fell by 12 percent to £62 million.

DAERA says this was a result of decreases in the production volumes for cereals due to lower yields and more spring cereal crops grown in 2020.

The value of output for cereals decreased by 7% to £31 million whereas the value of output for potatoes decreased by 10% to £21 million.