Agricultural incomes show significant fluctuations over the years. They also differ between the various legal forms and farm types. For the presentation of agricultural income we use the indicator “profit plus personnel expenses per work unit”. Hence, different proportions of not-salaried labor in agricultural holdings are taken into account (particularly between different legal forms).
The income of agricultural farms increased again in the 2016/17 economic year after decreasing in the two previous economic years. In the figure, the median is below the average in each year, which indicates that there are many farms with low incomes and few with (very) high incomes. The 10 % quantile, for example, is around 3.000 euro in the 2016/17 economic year, so 10 % of the farms earn less than 3.000 euro. The difference between the 75 % and 25 % quantiles is on average around 25.000 euro for the period under consideration. It should be noted that this difference has tended to increase, i.e. the income gap between successful and less successful farms is increasing. The reasons for the large income disparities include, inter alia, management, intensity of farming and natural conditions.
The sometimes large differences in income across regions are due to a different regional distribution of farms by size and type as well as various location factors and production conditions (climate, soil quality, etc.).
Partnerships generally have the highest income level. However, the income of “legal persons” approaches this level in some economic years or even exceeds it. The lowest income is observed in family farms. The average income per work unit increased for all legal forms in 2016/17.
Specialist field crop farms show the highest income in recent years, while other grazing livestock farms show the lowest. In all farm types (except specialist field crops and other grazing livestock) income increased in 2016/17.
The income of arable farms is strongly influenced by farm size. Farms with less than 100 hectares of utilized agricultural area have a significantly lower level of income per work unit. In contrast, arable farms with more than 250 hectares have generated the highest income among the three size classes in recent years. It should be noted that for illustration of the “size effects” on income per work unit, results are presented for family farms and partnerships only.
In dairy farms the income per work unit is significantly influenced by herd size. Farms with less than 50 dairy cows show the lowest incomes, while farms with more than 100 dairy cows have generally the highest. It should be noted that for illustration of the “size effects” on income per work unit, results are presented for family farms and partnerships only.
Revenues per hectare of utilized agricultural area vary due to changing producer prices as well as yields and production quantities, respectively. Revenues from livestock production are much higher than those from crop production on a per hectare basis.
The costs of seeds and seedlings, pesticides, fertilizers and energy remained relatively stable in recent years. Particularly, costs for animal feed have increased relatively strongly since the economic year 2009/10. However, since economic year 2012/13, these costs have fallen.
The work units per hectare differ significantly across farm types. Specialist granivore and dairy farms have about 3 work units per 100 hectares which is approximately twice as high as arable farms.