Is the 3-crop rule to remain for the 2020/2021 season?

The three-crop rule is once again on tillage farmers’ minds as they decide on a planting plan for the season ahead.

Oilseed rape will need to be planted in August and growers will be setting out plans for winter cereal area in the next few weeks.

As a result, some are wondering where they stand with the three-crop rule and do they need to allocate certain areas to different crops.

AgriLand has sent in a query to the Department of Agriculture on this and will notify readers once a response is received, but for now the best thing farmers can do is follow the crop diversification requirements until they hear more.

Wet weather effects

It is important to remember that in 2020 “an exception” to the crop diversification requirements was made due to the wet weather in both the autumn and the spring.

Farmers had to meet certain criteria and each application was judged on a case-by-case basis.

2020 was the second year in which a derogation or exception was granted on this rule. Wet weather in 2018 saw the rule removed.


While the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is delayed, farmers might be best to go with what has been in place in previous years and plan to fulfill the requirements unless they hear otherwise.

The crop diversification requirement has been the cause of much frustration to tillage farmers in Ireland, who will no doubt be expecting its removal under the new regime. Although farmers can expect some class of requirement for rotation among the new measures.

3-crop rule requirements

Under the diversification requirements, a farmer with 30ha of arable land or more is required to grow at least three different crops. The main crop should not account for more than 75% of the land and the two main crops should not account for more than 95% of the land.

A farmer with 10-30ha of arable land must sow at least two different crops and the main crop cannot account for more than 75% of the land.

Farmers with less than 10ha of arable land do not have to adhere to any crop diversification requirements.