Maize or beet on contract…do the paperwork first

Growing maize, beet or other fodder crops on contract can be a good option for many tillage farmers.

It is important to consider every option on your farm and do the sums as to what crop will provide you with the most profit at the end of the day.

Sowing fodder crops on contract can have advantages. It can provide a break in the crop rotation and in some cases can also result in the importation of slurry or farmyard manure to that land from the livestock farm.

Increase in area planted and agreements reached

Last year saw a large number of agreements between tillage and livestock farmers, mainly due to the fodder shortage in the winter of 2017/2018.

The drought of 2018 also saw the introduction of the Fodder Production Incentive Measure which resulted in a direct increase in the area of fodder crops grown later in the season (grasses and forage rape for example) and the development of relationships between livestock and tillage farmers.

In 2018, the area of land planted to maize increased by 40%, while the area of land planted to beet increased by 9% from 2017.

Approximately 6,000ha of grasses and 13,400ha of brassica crops were sown under the Fodder Production Incentive Measure in 2018.

Agreements

Every agreement between a tillage and livestock farmer will be different. The most important thing is that an agreement is reached at the start of the season.

Last season, Teagasc published a sample Contract Forage Cropping Agreement and suggested the help of a professional advisor when drawing up an agreement.

Some details that should be included are as follows:
  • The commencement and duration of the agreement;
  • Fee agreed per tonne;
  • Location of land where the crop will be grown;
  • Identify crop to be grown;
  • Identify soil samples from land the crop will be grown on;
  • Legal terms of agreement.

To view the full specimen agreement drawn up by Teagasc click here

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