Tillage farmers who were unable to harvest cereal crops due to wet weather in September and October are to get an “additional €7.147 million” package of support, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has announced.

The scheme to compensate growers for “unharvested crops” will be at a rate of €1,000/ha.

A minimum eligible area of 2ha and a maximum eligible area of 20ha will apply to individual applications under the scheme.

The scheme is open for applications from today but they must be submitted by November 24, 2023 with payments set to be made in January 2024. 

Minister Charlie McConalogue said: “In light of the significant challenges being faced by the tillage sector in 2023, I have approved an additional allocation of €7.147 million which will provide critical support for this important sector.

“The additional funding will be used for a targeted scheme to support tillage growers who were unable to harvest cereal crops due to wet weather in September and October.

“The funding will also provide for an increased payment per hectare to eligible growers on top of the payment that I announced under the EU Agricultural Reserve in October”. 

Tillage farmers

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has previously warned that tillage farmers were facing significant losses this year because of a combination of factors – including challenging weather conditions and high land rental costs.

Last month Minister McConalogue had also announced a financial support package of €7.148 million for the tillage sector.

But although the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) welcomed the package it had also warned that the support for an individual farmer would work out at around “€11.30/ac” and that for an average-size tillage farm of 80ac this would total “€904 per holding”.

Meanwhile the ICSA had estimated that tillage farmers were “losing around €300/ac and more if they can’t get crops harvested”.

Today Minister McConalogue was keen to stress that the latest financial support package demonstrated his “commitment to the tillage sector”

“I have doubled the annual budget for the Protein Aid Scheme from €3 million to €7 million as well as the Tillage Incentive Scheme (TIS) where payments of almost €11 million were made to scheme applicants last year.

“I secured an annual budget of €10 million for the Straw Incorporation Measure (SIM) as a permanent part of the CAP Strategic Plan (CSP) and announced additional funding of €6.5 million for SIM to ensure support for all applicants in 2023”.

He said these supports – in addition to the €7.147 million allocation under the EU Agricultural Reserve and the national top-up of a further €7.147 million – had “resulted in €25 million additional funding this year to support tillage growers in what has been a very challenging year”.