€2.75 million fodder production incentive announced for tillage farmers

An incentive measure for tillage farmers to produce additional feed this autumn through a financial commitment of up to €2.75 million has been launched today (Friday, August 3).

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, launched the scheme having secured the agreement of the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe.

Commenting on the scheme, Minister Creed said: “I am acutely aware of the need to prepare for the winter ahead. I have been actively engaged with the fodder group and, through its work, maximising production of home-grown fodder is a collective priority this autumn.

Through this incentive, I am encouraging tillage growers to actively engage in the fodder market.

What does it entail?

This measure will provide an incentive of €155/ha for tillage growers who grow a temporary crop of short-rotation grasses for fodder production over the winter months and €100/ha for those growing catch crops – such as fodder rape, turnips, etc.

Currently over 23,000ha of catch crops are supported under the Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS), according to the department.

This additional funding commitment aims to incentivise a doubling of this area.

“This year has been a challenging year for both livestock and tillage farmers. This measure will support tillage farmers to supply into what is a strong market for fodder,” Minister Creed added.

This initiative has been developed following recent meetings with the industry and “will aim to provide a significant additional fodder supply for the livestock sector”.

The measure will not apply where land is being taken out of tillage production, but encourages temporary production only of fodder by tillage growers, the department explained.

Farmers growing between 3ha and 50ha of additional temporary forage crops – additional to that already grown under GLAS – will be eligible.

The measure will be available to all tillage farmers, but it will only apply to land not already included under the GLAS Catch Crop Measure or land declared as catch crops to satisfy the Ecological Focus Area requirements under Greening.

A GLAS participant may apply for this measure on tillage land not in receipt of GLAS Catch Crop aid, the department added. The crop must also be grown on lands declared as tillage in a farmer’s 2018 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) application.

Additional measures

Today’s announcement follows on from the confirmation yesterday (Thursday, August 2) that a number of measures would be implemented to help farmers overcome the difficulties that have arisen as a result of the drought.

Also Read: Measures announced to help farmers overcome drought difficulties

Minister Creed welcomed official confirmation by the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, on higher advance payments under the BPS and GLAS – as well as the availability of certain flexibilities in GLAS.