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CSO statistical release, 12 March 2018, 11am

Output, Input and Income in Agriculture Preliminary Estimate


Goods OutputIntermediate ConsumptionNet SubsidiesOperating Surplus
% Change ('16 on '15)-1.0%1.6%19.4%3.6%
% Change ('17 on '16)13.6%2.0%3.7%35.2%

Agricultural operating surplus increased by 35.2% in 2017

Output, Input and Income in Agriculture - Preliminary Estimate 2017 Figure 1
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The CSO's second estimate of operating surplus in agriculture in 2017 shows an annual increase of 35.2%.  This increase is in line with the trends shown by other CSO short-term indicators in agriculture.  The main drivers of the change were milk and livestock outputs, which increased by 45.2% and 4.4%, respectively.  See Headline Table.

Further comparison of 2017 and 2016 figures shows the following changes in estimated values.  See Table 1.

  • Goods output at producer prices increased by 13.6%, to reach €8,016m
  • Milk was the largest contributor to the growth in goods output.  Milk output increased by €809m in the year, with prices up by 32.8% and volume up by 9.4%
  • The value of cattle output increased by 3.1% and is estimated at €2,352m.  This is an increase of €70m over 2016, driven by improved prices (+1.8%) and a higher volume of production (+1.3%)
  • Pig output increased by 11.0% to reach €520m, mainly due to improved prices
  • Total intermediate consumption was 2.0% greater than in 2016 and is estimated to be €5,203m
  • Expenditure on commercial feeding stuffs increased by 5.6%, to reach €1,426m, mainly due to increase of 8.0% in the volume of consumption
  • Expenditure on fertilisers amounted to €513m in 2017, an increase of 0.8% on 2016. This was mainly driven by the 12.8% increase in the volume of consumption
  • The cost of energy and lubricants increased by 6.1% or €23m following a rise in oil prices

The value of other subsidies less taxes on production is estimated to have increased by 3.6% from €1,592m in 2016 to €1,650m in 2017.  It should be noted that this figure only includes subsidies actually paid by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine by year end.

This release updates the Advance Estimate of Output, Input and Income in Agriculture published by the CSO in December 2017.

The figures for 2017 are a preliminary estimate, which is provisional and is based on the latest available data. They are subject to change once the complete set of data for the full year becomes available. Updated figures for 2017 will be published in the Final Estimate in June 2018.

Table 1 Estimated Output, Input and Income in Agriculture, 2017Preliminary estimate
 Estimated ValueChange 2017/2016
Livestock (incl. stock changes)3,450.23,432.43,584.04.42.0
of which:   
Cattle 2,358.02,281.92,351.73.11.3
Livestock products1,938.51,855.72,664.143.69.1
of which:   
Other livestock products67.165.565.1-0.62.2
Crops (incl. stock changes)1,743.31,769.81,768.1-0.10.6
of which:
Forage plants1,004.01,049.41,
Other crops476.6489.5471.8-3.6-1.3
Goods output at producer prices7,132.07,057.98,
Contract work348.0361.5361.50.00.0
Subsidies less taxes on products-  
Agricultural output at basic prices7,397.17,419.68,378.512.93.8
Intermediate consumption5,021.35,103.45,
of which:   
Feeding stuffs1,317.41,351.01,426.45.68.0
Energy and lubricants400.3375.4398.16.1-0.2
Forage plants1,001.11,046.31,
Contract work348.0361.5361.50.00.0
Other items of intermediate consumption1,389.41,460.91,453.9-0.50.9
Gross value added at basic prices2,375.82,316.13,175.537.1 
Fixed capital consumption804.8812.7812.70.0 
Net value added at basic prices1,571.01,503.42,362.857.2 
Other subsidies less taxes on production1,415.91,592.11,649.63.6 
Factor income2,986.83,095.54,012.529.6 
Compensation of employees489.0507.7514.81.4 
Operating surplus2,497.82,587.93,497.635.2 
Interest less FISIM248.1222.5178.1-20.0 
Land rental203.1239.9239.90.0 
Entrepreneurial income2,046.72,125.53,079.744.9 
1 Commercial sales of Wheat, Barley and Oats

Background Notes


This release contains preliminary estimates of agricultural accounts for the reference year 2017. 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, before the end 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 February 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 “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, but includes taxes or levies on products.

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 products is the beef data and genomics programme. 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 as output and also 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 employees 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 and the green low-carbon agri-environmental scheme (GLAS). Taxes on production consist of VAT over/under-compensation for farmers, who have opted for the flat rate VAT system, and 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 volume 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 2016 may then be calculated by comparing the value in 2016 at average 2010 prices to the value in 2010 at average 2010 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.

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