As Agriland exclusively revealed yesterday, the €100/ha tillage payment will cover all crops harvested in 2024, including those sown out late last year for harvesting this year.

The new payment measure was confirmed by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue last weekend at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis.

And, yes, the offer on the table is well below the levels expected by all the farming organisations. But it’s a start.

The real challenge facing the government now centres on its response to the Food Vision Tillage Group report.

The publication is currently being analysed and assessed by Minister McConalogue’s advisors and Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) officials.

Underpinning all of this is a previous commitment given by the government to the effect that the tillage sector must be expanded to cover a footprint of 400,000ha by 2030.

Driving this policy is the fundamentally key fact that tillage farming already has such a low carbon footprint.

However, it’s unlikely that 300,000ha of land will be planted out in crops during 2024. Admittedly, this scenario reflects – to a degree – the impact of the atrocious weather that tillage farmers have faced over the past 12 months and more.


Another factor kicking-in is the weariness that is now so apparent across the tillage sector.

Many growers felt – quite rightly – that they were ‘shafted’ when it came to the outworking of the current Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) measures.

Adding to this is the fact that dairy farmers are chasing their tillage counterparts out the gate when it comes to leasing the additional land that growers need in order to keep their cropping enterprises sustainable.

Put simply, those farmers who rely on the growing of crops for their livelihoods want parity of esteem.

At the very least, this means recouping for the  CAP-related losses they are now enduring while, at the same time, securing sustainable prices for the crops they grow.

And the government is not the only stakeholder with skin in this game. All those agri-business bodies dealing directly and indirectly with the tillage sector must play their role in delivering a level playing field for Irish tillage farmers.

Recent days have seen major Irish milk buyers come forward with support packages for hard hit milk producers, and rightly so.

Yet some of these organisations have made little or no reference to the plight of tillage farmers, with whom they do more than considerable amounts of business throughout the year.

Meanwhile, the clock is clicking on Minister McConalogue’s response to the Food Vision Tillage Group report.

Since his officials basically wrote the final draft of the publication, surely we should not have to wait that long for his official response to its recommendations?