The new Straw Incorporation Measure is expected to be opened for tillage farmers today (Monday, March 22) – with applications to be accepted straight away, it is understood.

AgriLand understands that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is expected to open the Straw Incorporation Measure later today.

€10 million has been allocated for the pilot scheme/measure, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has previously confirmed. Applications are expected to open today and will close on Monday, May 17.

A payment rate of €250/ha will be available for farmers to chop and incorporate oats, rye, wheat or barley. Oil seed rape is expected to be part of the scheme, but at a lower rate.

The minimum amount of land that can be included in the scheme is 5ha while the maximum amount is 40ha.

This is slightly different from what had been said by Teagasc earlier this month, prior to the scheme receiving final approval of terms and conditions from the EU and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine – with the big difference surrounding the lesser rate for oil seed rape.

According to Teagasc tillage advisor John Galvin, the new Straw Incorporation Measure “is designed to encourage farmers to increase soil organic carbon levels by chopping and incorporating straw from cereal crops”.

Announcing the opening this morning, Minister McConalogue said: “This is an important initiative firstly for tillage farmers, but also for the environment. It will help farmers who want to increase their soil organic carbon levels by means of straw chopping and incorporation.”