Will farmers face penalties for failed wild bird cover crops?

After this summer’s drought, many wild bird cover crops sown under the Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environmental Scheme (GLAS) came under pressure.

Where crops did germinate, they were severely impacted by this summer’s drought and became laden with weeds; some crops even failed.

This year, the deadline for the sowing of wild bird cover under GLAS 1 and GLAS 2 was extended to June 14 from the original May 31 deadline. Many crops, especially those located in the south and east, were sown just as drought conditions began to take hold.

Farmers, especially those in areas hardest hit by the lack of rainfall, have also seen some of the hedging planted as part of the scheme become weakened. In some cases, individual plants failed.

AgriLand asked the Department of Agriculture would farmers be penalised for the failure of both wild bird crops and GLAS hedging.

Responding, a spokesperson for the department said: “GLAS inspections consider each GLAS action on an individual basis.

“Drought conditions in the area, GLAS records, the available supporting documentation and the situation found on the ground at inspection will be taken into consideration in individual cases.”

Flexibility under GLAS options confirmed

Recently, the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed confirmed that flexibility for fodder production under some GLAS options would be available from September 1. It will be available until December 1.

The flexibility will apply to both the GLAS Low Input Permanent Pasture (LIPP) and Fallow Land elements of GLAS.

Minister Creed commented: “These flexibilities have the potential to add to the quantities of winter fodder available by bringing over 260,000 additional hectares into fodder production.”

Details of the measures were communicated to the GLAS participants involved and their advisors.