Department to consider exemptions from 2 and 3-crop Greening rules

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is prepared to consider exempting tillage farmers from the two/three-crop requirement under Greening, due to the exceptionally wet weather, it has announced today, Tuesday, March 24.

“The autumn weather in 2019 proved very difficult for Irish tillage farmers, with rainfall above average across the main crop-growing areas of the country,” the department said.

The statement added: “As a consequence of this poor weather, a limited exemption to crop diversification was introduced by the department in January 2020.

Challenging weather

“The weather to date in 2020 has also proved extremely challenging, with record levels of rainfall in February. This has left tillage farmers with limited crop options.

“Due to the exceptional circumstances caused by the recent wet weather, the department has decided to extend the possible exemption for 2020 to all tillage farmers.

Consequently, tillage farmers may choose the crop options that best suit the soil conditions and the time of the year. If, as a result of these choices, a farmer does not comply with the crop diversification rules, an exemption may be granted.

The statement concluded: “Farmers who wish to request this exemption may do so as part of their 2020 BPS [Basic Payment Scheme] application. Each such request will be considered by the department on a case-by-case basis.”

‘Divide the workload’

The chairperson of the the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) Grain Committee, Mark Browne, commented that if farmers continue to try and plant the seed that they have, it may help to divide out the workload later in the season.

He added: “Protein crops are also needed to provide an Irish source of protein. Farmers can avail of the Protein Aid Scheme where these crops continue to be planted.”

He was also conscious that there may be a lot of spring barley come next harvest. He advised farmers to still try, where possible, to get a mix of crops in.