Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has said he expects a high demand for the Straw Incorporation Measure (SIM) this year.

The minister said he was “delighted” to see that there was a high level of interest in the measure, as over €8 million were paid out to farmers.

Approximately 35,000ha of straw were chopped and incorporated, compared to over 38,000ha that were committed to the scheme in 2021, according to Minister McConalogue. He commented:

“Given the surplus stocks of straw currently available from last year’s harvest and the very high price of fertiliser, I expect that demand for the scheme will be strong in 2022.”

His statements were made in response to a recent parliamentary question by independent Kerry TD, Deputy Michael Healy-Rae.

Straw Incorporation Measure

The SIM – which was introduced as a pilot scheme in 2021 – provides a payment for chopping straw and incorporating it into the soil, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

Payments are only issued on at least 5ha but on no more than 40ha, and there is an overall budget of €15 million for this scheme in 2022.

Minister McConalogue confirmed there will be no changes to the rates payable or list of eligible crops under the scheme in 2022. The payment rate is €250/ha for cereal straw from barley, wheat, oats and rye; and €150/ha for oilseed rape straw.

In order to qualify for the scheme, farmers must be cultivating any or all of the following crops which must be declared on their Basic Payment Scheme application:

  • Winter or spring oats;
  • Rye;
  • Winter or spring wheat;
  • Winter or spring barley;
  • Winter or spring oilseed rape.

Another condition is that as soon as possible after the crops have been harvested, the straw must be chopped, spread evenly and incorporated into the soil, the DAFM explained.

The closing date for applications is Monday, May 16, 2022 and farmers will be notified by in June whether applications have been successful.