IGGG calls for derogation on GLAS catch crop requirements

The Irish Grain Growers Group (IGGG) has requested that the Government come up with fodder solutions.

The group counts catch crops among one of these solutions amidst a shortage of grass and straw across the country.

A statement from the IGGG on the continuing drought outlined: “The weather has lead to an earlier winter crop harvest, with lower volumes of straw, due to the recent heatwave and reduced tillage acreage.”

On a positive note the group added: “The early clearing of fields gives farmers, including those in GLAS [Green, Low Carbon, Agri-Environmental Scheme], an excellent opportunity to get a cover crop established.”

As a result the IGGG is asking for amendments to the requirements for catch crops in the GLAS scheme.

The group – representing a number of the country’s grain growers – wishes to seek a derogation that would allow farmers in GLAS graze or ensile catch crops from October 1.

“Under current GLAS requirements farmers cannot graze until December 1.

This is to allow livestock farmers to be able to utilise these cover crops and to alleviate some of the potential fodder requirements for the coming winter by extending the grazing season.

The group asked for a fertiliser derogation to increase the production of these crops.

“We request that farmers in GLAS, and indeed all tillage farmers willing to grow catch crops, get a derogation to use fertiliser in excess of the annual farm limits (similar to derogations given to the livestock sectors) on these crops to further their growth potential.”

The IGGG also asked that farmers growing these catch crops be allowed to plant a single crop, instead of the current mixtures (two or more seed types) required to be sown under the GLAS scheme.

We also request mono-crop seeds such as Redstart, Westerwolds ryegrass or fodder rape be used on their own to give a bulky forage crop that can be grazed or ensiled.

“Such measures could help out the livestock sector greatly in the autumn and give a much-needed cash boost to the tillage farmers also struggling with the extreme weather events in 2018.”