€12m package to boost tillage farming

Green light to €12m package for farmers to incentivise crop production.

The Government has given the go-ahead to a €12m package devised to boost the tillage sector.

Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue, TD, brought the package to cabinet against the backdrop of soaring prices for oil, animal feeds, fertiliser and other input costs.

“The illegal invasion in Ukraine has put our supply chains under enormous pressure”

The package consists of a targeted intervention package for the tillage sector and a multi-species award initiative.

Supply chain pressure

“We are living in unprecedented times,” the Minister said. “The illegal invasion in Ukraine has put our supply chains under enormous pressure, with extraordinarily high input prices and potential supply chain disruption.

“This is why I have put in place a Rapid Response Team in my Department and I established the National Fodder and Food Security Committee to examine how best to advise the sector to manage the disruptions.

“Today’s package is aimed at producing more native crops while reducing dependency on imports and on crops with a low demand for chemical fertiliser, which is limited in supply as a result of the invasion.”

Intervention measures

The €12m package proposes to implement a targeted intervention package for certain crops, with the following key elements:

  • Tillage Incentive Scheme to incentivise farmers to grow additional tillage crops. Russia and Ukraine are significant sources of global cereal exports, so the price and availability of cereals globally is impacted by the situation in Ukraine and the sanctions on Russia. It is proposed to encourage farmers to grow more tillage crops (e.g. barley, oats, wheat) in 2022 versus 2021. For area of crops to be eligible, the land must not have been in tillage production in 2021. A payment of €400 per hectare is proposed. The proposed budget is €10 million. Farmers should declare the relevant crops on their 2022 BPS application.
  • Protein Crops supports to encourage farmer to grow protein crops (i.e. peas, beans, lupins and combi-crops) in 2022. Supporting domestic production of protein crops will reduce Ireland’s reliance on imported feed materials. €3 million is provided for under the EU funded Protein Aid Scheme and a further €1.2 million is proposed to be provided to guarantee a payment of €300 per hectare for beans, peas and lupins and €150 per hectare for combi-crops (cereal/protein mix). Farmers should declare the relevant crops on their 2022 BPS application.
  • Multi-Species Sward Scheme including support for red clover to promote environmentally sustainable methods of farming, and thereby greatly reduce nitrogen fertiliser, while maintaining forage yields. Both Multi Species Swards and Red clover silage can save farmers money while maintaining production levels and reducing the farm carbon footprint. This measure will be delivered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in co-operation with participating Agri-retailers and Co-operatives throughout the country. It will support the establishment of approx. 12,000 hectares of Multi Species Swards and approx. 4000 hectares of the Red Clover silage mix.
John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.