The tillage sector is an extremely important part of Irish Agriculture. There are approximately 14,000 farmers growing crops to supply a range of sectors such as the animal feed industry, malting, distilling etc.
Greening and specifically Crop Diversification places obligations on tillage farmers with regards to the number of crops that must be grown. For farmers with more than 10 ha of arable land, but less than 30 ha, at least two crops must be grown. For those with more than 30 ha at least three crops must be grown. Along with the number, crops farmers also must ensure that the main crop does not exceed 75% of the arable area and, for those required to grow more than two crops, that the two main crops do not exceed 95%.
The autumn of 2019 proved a very difficult period for Irish tillage farmers, with rainfall above average across the main crop growing areas of the country. This weather has left many farmers unable to complete their planted winter sowings.
The Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine (DAFM) has been engaged in discussions with DG Agri on this matter for several months. A decision has now been taken by DAFM, due to the exceptional circumstances caused by the wet weather last autumn, to make an exception to the crop diversification requirements for 2020 on a case-by-case basis for those farmers who meet the following criteria;
- Declared winter crops, maize or potatoes on their 2019 BPS application;
- Can demonstrate that they were adversely affected by the weather conditions in late 2019.
Farmers who wish to apply for this exception may do so as part of their 2020 BPS application. Applications will be examined on a case-by-case basis to ensure applicants meet the conditions as outlined above. Further details on the mechanism for applying for the exemption will be made available closer to the opening of BPS applications.
Any queries with regard to this exemption can be directed to the Greening Unit – email@example.com