The Department for Agriculture, Food and the Marine is urging all farmers and GLAS advisors to submit their applications for the third tranche of the scheme by the deadline of December 15, 2016.

To date just over 14,500 applications have been created on the GLAS 3 online system.

Given the large volume of applications being created applicants are being encouraged by the Department to adopt actions that will optimise their marks for the selection process, where practical and appropriate, to increase their chances of accessing the scheme.

It advises that it is imperative that GLAS advisors and potential applicants ensure that the area, feature and/or linear units entered for GLAS payment are suitable for the action to be carried out i.e. that they comply with the GLAS 3 specification.

In this regard one of the key actions available, which may suit the majority of farmers and in particular tillage farmers and farmers with lower stocking rates, is the Low-Emission Slurry Spreading action (LESS).

This action requires a minimum of 50 cubic metres of slurry spread annually using low emission technology.

The slurry can be from a farmers own holding or may be imported from locally available sources such as pig farms or more intensively stocked farms, but must be spread using low emissions technology.

If availing of this GLAS action, famers and advisors must take care not to exceed the nitrates limits under the Good Agricultural Practice Regulations.

Farmers should calculate how much Phosphorus they need and save money by meeting as much of their phosphorus requirements as possible from imported pig slurry where available.

Advisors are reminded not to leave it until the last minute to submit your application – if it has been prepared, saved and validated and the correct actions chosen, it should be submitted now to avoid the risk of slow internet connection, which may inhibit the submission of applications closer to the deadline.

The Department is urging GLAS advisors to submit the highest standard environmental plans under GLAS 3 and to adopt actions that would promote them to from Tier 3 to a higher tier to increase their chance of selection into the scheme.

According to the Department over 80% of applicants in the second tranche of the scheme opted to do so and were approved.

Based on the GLAS 3 plans already submitted, almost 95% are either Tier 1 or 2.