French farm income is expected to fall 2.3% this year, weighed down by higher costs for fertilizer and animal feed, the Agriculture Ministry reported.
Average pretax operating income per farmer this year is estimated at €30,200 from €30,900 in 2010, the ministry’s statistical department Agreste said in its latest report.
France is the European Union’s largest agricultural producer, with farm output of €66.7 billion at basic prices, or 19% of the 27-nation bloc’s production, according to the EU’s statistical agency Eurostat.
“Despite prices holding up well and business being vigorous, the rise of production costs penalizes the revenue of plant producers as well as animal producers,” Agreste wrote in the report.
Earnings for producers of commodity crops including grains, oilseeds and sugar beets are forecast to slump 22% to an average €37,300 per farmer from €47,700, the statistics department said.
“Other than the cost of fertilizer and energy, the drop in revenue is a result of the yield decline for most of the cereals following the drought in the spring of 2011,” Agreste wrote. “However, corn production progresses, helped by the summer rains.”
The average holder of dairy cows will see pretax earnings climb to €30,300 from €25,800, while earnings for beef-cattle producers are estimated at €13,700 from €15,600, the report showed.
“The cost of animal feed, even if stabilized at the end of the year, hurts the revenue,” Agreste said. “It’s compensated by a favourable price evolution in dairy-cattle and poultry breeding.”
Pig-farmer income will fall to an average €26,500 from €35,600, while earnings for poultry breeders are estimated to have climbed to an average €32,100 in 2011 from €30,500.