The average debt on Irish farms in 2020 was €59,982, with 35% of farms having borrowings, the National Farm Survey for 2020 shows.

Some 76% of farm-related debt was classified as medium- or long-term debt, 16% related to hire purchase and leasing, while 8% was deemed short-term debt.

Approximately two-thirds of farms have no business-related debt across all farm systems

There was a 5% increase in gross new investment on Irish farms in 2020.

Dairy

Six out of 10 dairy farms had borrowings in 2020 and 64% of dairy farms have some level of debt, with borrowings averaging €112,476, representing represents a decrease of 4% on 2019 levels.

Tillage

Most notably, farm debt declined most strongly on tillage farms, with a decrease in debt year on year of 28%.

This was in line with falling investment on tillage farms in 2020.

Suckler

Some 28% of suckler enterprises had debts averaging €25,642, which was a decrease of 3% on 2019 levels. However, the debt-to-income ratio of those borrowings remains considerably higher than other enterprises at 3:1. Dairy farms had higher debt levels but their debt to income ratio remained lower at 1:4.

Sheep

Some 26% of sheep farms had borrowings averaging €30,894 last year. This is in line with a considerable increase in investment on sheep farms in 2020, doubling on previous levels to approximately €7,085.

On-farm investment in recent years has been driven by the TAMS II and Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme.