The total number of applications received by the Department of Agriculture under the drystock farmer Fodder Support Scheme reached 69,403 when the scheme closed this Tuesday. This represents almost 70% of the beef and sheep farmers in the country.
The number of applications received ballooned by 44% in the final 12 days of the scheme, with more than 15,600 farmers applying over the last five days.
The counties with the highest number of applications were Galway and Mayo, which saw 7,096 and 6,434 farmers applying respectively. Counties Cork, Roscommon, Clare and Donegal were close behind, seeing high numbers of applications also.
The Department has yet to release information on applications to the scheme which would allow the Irish Farmers Journal to tell eligible farmer applicants the exact amount they are set to receive for preserving up to 10ha of hay or silage over the summer.
However, the Irish Farmers Journal has determined that if all eligible farmers applied for an average of 8ha or less, a rate of €100/ha will be paid out, allowing those who applied for 10ha to receive a maximum payment of €1,000.
If farmers have applied for an area of more than 8ha on average, it can be expected that payments will be cut linearly to keep the scheme’s spend within the €56m announced earlier this year.
In the case that all farmers applied for 10ha, a payment of €80/ha will be issued to leave the maximum payment possible standing at €800 per farmer.
Late applications and penalties
The Department has indicated that late applications will still be accepted up to 27 August, although any applications received after 2 August will receive a penalty applied at the rate of 1% per day.
Adjustments made to existing applications to reduce the area applied for can be made up to 27 August, providing that the request to do so has not followed a notification from the Department regarding an issue with an application or notification from the Department of an inspection for the scheme.
At least 5% of applicants to the scheme will be inspected and farmers are reminded that in cases where the Department determines that an applicant overstated the area of hay or silage made by over 20% on their application, no payment will be issued.
Where a farmer has overstated the area they were going to preserve by more than 50%, no payment will be issued, but a penalty will, which the Department will claim from other scheme payments in the coming years. All silage and hay saved under the scheme must be cut and conserved by 5 September 2022.