After much speculation the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney has announced that he intends to open a second tranche of applications for GLAS this year.

While the precise date has not been fixed as yet, the second tranche is likely to open in the early Autumn, following the processing of applications under the first tranche.

The second tranche will close before the end of the year, with the objective of starting farmers in their new GLAS contracts from January 1, 2016. These contracts will run for five calendar years.

Minister Coveney said he has been monitoring the uptake under the first tranche very closely and with over 21,000 applications already registered and increasing daily.

“I believe the Department is well on the way to achieving its targets for 2015 as a whole.

With more certainty as to the overall uptake, I believe the time is right to announce a second tranche for the autumn.

The Minister said he anticipates that we will approve some 25,000 applications from Tranche 1.

“With that in mind, I am looking at opening a second tranche for an additional 10,000 farmers in the early Autumn,” he said.

The confirmation of a second tranche will be welcomed by many farmers, particularly new entrants into farming in 2015 who were unable to apply under the first tranche.

It will also be welcomed by those farmers who have opted to defer their applications in order to adjust or split parcels on their holding under their 2015 BPS applications, to optimise the environmental dividend they can offer under GLAS as well as the annual payment that can be drawn.

The Minister also announced that he is giving additional time to Commonage GLAS planners to get their commonage plans completed and submitted.

The new extended date for the completion of the commonage plans will be August 31. Farmers with commonage will still have to make sure they lodge their individual GLAS applications by the May 22.