The splitting of land parcels will not be possible when applying for the first tranche of GLAS, according to the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

Responding to questioning on GLAS he said it is not true to say that a farmer cannot split a parcel when applying for GLAS.

“On the contrary, the online system includes a facility to split a parcel to deliver up to three area-based actions,” he said.

By way of example, a 12 hectare parcel could be split to deliver a combination of Traditional Hay Meadow, Low Input Permanent Pasture and Wild Bird Cover, generating an annual payment of just under €5,000.

“The adviser can do this, online, on behalf of his or her client,” the Minister said.

Where a parcel is not split, one area based action may be selected together with certain linear actions provided no issue of double payment arises, he said.

However, Minister Coveney also said this week that the application system is based on parcels declared in 2014 Single Payment Application and subsequently verified by my Department.

Parcels being declared by a farmer for the first time in 2015 must be verified and this cannot be completed before the closing date for receipt of applications, 30 April 2015, he said.

“If farmers wish to deliver GLAS actions on newly acquired parcels in 2015 it is open to them to apply under the next application Tranche,” he said.

This has led to calls from IFA Rural Development Chairman, Flor McCarthy that the splitting of parcel issue between area based and linear measures must be resolved so that farmers can pick the most appropriate measures to secure the maximum payment.

The Rural Development Chairman said that the Minister for Agriculture must now make a clear statement that the GLAS scheme will open again in autumn for those farmers who will be in a better position to maximise their payments following their 2015 Basic Payment Scheme application.