3-crop rule ‘scrapped for this season’

A derogation from the ‘three-crop rule’ can be apparently implemented by tillage farmers this season. The EU Commission has granted the derogation, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

The announcement will be a welcome one, as it comes amidst a difficult time for tillage farmers who are struggling to get spring crops sown and as cropping options reduce.

IFA President Joe Healy has welcomed today’s European Commission decision to grant a derogation on the crop diversification requirement for 2018 crops. This will give growers the required flexibility to establish the maximum amount of arable crops weather permitting.

“Today’s decision by Commissioner Hogan is a pragmatic move; recognising the severe difficulties faced by growers in what is proving to be one of the latest springs in living memory.

“The month of March has been an unusually wet and cold month – particularly across the main arable regions of the country,” he said.

Spring wheat and beans sown from now on will most likely have a late harvest and crop quality and yield may be reduced as a result.

Winter crop targets not met

As a result of poor weather and ground conditions last autumn, many farmers did not reach their target for winter planting and were on the back foot to meet the three-crop rule requirement under ‘greening’ regulations.

Poor weather conditions

The IFA called on the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to allow a derogation on the three-crop rule under greening obligations last week, in light of the terrible weather conditions this year.

The IFA Grain Committee chairman Mark Browne called on the minister to engage with the EU Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan on the matter.

Browne stated: “Very little sowing was done during the winter. It’s April now and the rain is still coming, making it impossible to get any sowing done.”

Browne also added that the rule was putting farmers under “extreme pressure”, as time was running out to sow some crops, such as oats, beans and spring wheat.

He also highlighted that “fallow” was not an option for farmers who need to ensure they can achieve a product and an income this year.