Assuming that the Protein Aid Scheme budget stays the same as it was in 2019 (€3 million), those growing protein crops will see a significant decline in the payment they will receive this season.
740 applicants received a payment of €365/ha in 2019. However, this season farmers can expect to be paid much less under the scheme as the area of protein crops planted has increased.
Assuming that the budget stays the same this season, at €3 million, farmers are set to receive a payment of approximately €218/ha as a total of 13,750ha of protein crops, which fall under the scheme, were planted in 2020.
This is a significant increase in area compared to 2019. As farmers failed to get 40% of their winter cereal crops in, some turned to beans in the spring time and a total of 12,950ha of the crop were planted in the 2020 season. The majority of these beans were spring crops. This is an increase of 5,507ha in the area sown to beans from 2019.
Many farmers locked into price contracts for beans early in the year. These payments are over €200/t in many cases. Dairygold was one of the first companies to commit to a price of €205/t for beans.
As focus has now turned to home-grown protein and sustainability in the Farm to Fork Strategy and in the recently published Programme for Government, will the budget be increased to further entice farmers into the scheme?
Spring beans got off to a flying start in many areas this season, but the drought of recent weeks is taking its toll.