The €10m Straw Incorporation Measure (SIM) is now open for applications, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has confirmed.
The scheme has been introduced to support tillage farmers who decide to chop and incorporate straw into the soil after harvest.
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. I am confident that this focused type of intervention can act as a model for future scheme development.”
A total fund of €10m is available for 2021 on a pilot basis and is co-funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development as part of Ireland’s Rural Development Plan.
Payment will be made at the rate of €250/ha for those applicants who chop and incorporate oats, rye, wheat or barley, and oil seed rape will be paid at the rate of €150/ha.
The minimum application is 5ha, with a maximum of 40ha. If the measure is oversubscribed, a process of ranking and selection will be applied.
Applications can be made from Monday 22 March through the BPS online application form, available at agfood.ie. The closing date for applications is Monday 17 May.
Minister McConalogue continued: “I am confident that SIM can make an important contribution to the long-term sustainability of the tillage sector and I look forward to seeing tillage farmers actively engage in the measure.
“I know that advisors and indeed officials from my Department are there to assist with the application process. I support the long-term viability of the tillage sector and will listen to and engage with the sector in the time ahead.”
Queries regarding SIM can be directed to email@example.com or 076-106 4420.
IFA grain chair Mark Browne said farmers should engage in the objectives of the measure in order for the scheme to continue in subsequent years.
“Apart from the environmental aspect of the scheme, it’s also an acknowledgement by the Government of the income pressure in the sector with the introduction of a Pillar II scheme for the first time,” Browne said.
“The flexibilities in the scheme regarding the switching of parcels and withdrawals post-application are important to have the maximum take-up and ensure limited market disruption.”
The IFA said the inclusion of oil seed rape, albeit at a lower payment rate, is very welcome.