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The Central Statistics Office (CSO) collects data from farmers on the input costs & output prices of their farm, and began reporting these, indexed, from 2015, referred to as the Agricultural Input Price Index.

The agricultural input price indices are designed to measure trends in the price of farm inputs purchased for current consumption (i.e. non-capital materials and services).  The monthly total input price indices are the weighted average of the individual input price indices using the expenditure on farm inputs from the Economic Accounts for Agriculture in the period 2014 to 2016 as weights.  A spread of three years is also used to counteract any abnormalities which might have occurred in purchases of inputs in a single year.  The annual input indices are calculated as the simple arithmetic mean of the monthly indices. 

The input prices used are those actually paid by farmers, excluding VAT.  Monthly prices are used for most products.  For seasonal products, such as seeds and plant protection products, for which prices are only available at certain times during the year, the monthly prices returned during the last selling period remain unchanged until the product can be priced again for the next season.  Some items are only priced annually e.g. veterinary fees and veterinary products and for these products the annual price is used each month to calculate the monthly indices.’  CSO Methodology – Agricultural Price Indices.

Findings of the CSO Agricultural Price Index for 2022, below, indicated the input price index was up 35.1% in 2022 when compared with 2021, while the output price Index rose by 26.7% over the same period.

The large input cost increase was mainly due to rises in Fertilisers (121.3%) and Energy prices (42.9%), with the lowest rise in preliminary estimates observed in Veterinary Expenses (2.8%).

Data from the CSO just released (Jun2023), up to April 2023, indicates a recovery in farming costs, mostly driven from a reduction in Fertiliser, Feeding Stuff and Energy costs, albeit still far in excess of April 2022 costs. Input price growth was recorded in Feed (+14.4%), Seeds (+7.1%), and Veterinary Expenses (+6.1%), while fertiliser prices fell (-28.1%) in April 2023 when compared with April 2022.  The increase in early 2023 of Veterinary Expenses at 6.1% (since April 2022), is noted as being below inflation levels of 7.1% (April 2023 Trading Economics).  Veterinary Expenses as represented in the table below, remains one of least changed and stable input costs for farming in Ireland since 2015.