Pic: Kieran Campbell via Geograph

FARMERS in West Cork and across the country saw their incomes rise by 27 per cent in 2011 according to figures released by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

The average farm income was €21,500 compared to the national average wage of €32,000 though the IFA figures also include part-time farmers who often have other forms of income.

More than 70 per cent of farmer’s incomes came from direct payments with the bulk of those made up of single farm payments.

The strong growth has come on the back of rising international demand and rising prices in virtually all agri-sectors.

Milk prices rose by 12 per cent while cattle prices increased by 18 per cent.

IFA Chief Economist Rowena Dwyer welcomed the figures but warned there were still significant challenges ahead.

“While the outlook for 2012 remains fairly positive, indications for international commodity prices suggest a slight easing back from the peaks of 2011, but this should be moderate,” she said.

“The turmoil in the financial markets is having an erratic impact on commodity markets, with no clear price pattern linked to supply-demand balances.

“In addition, the lower revised growth forecast for the UK market in late 2011 is a cause for concern as over 40 per cent of agri-food exports go there.”