One hundred claims were submitted for the new protein crop scheme in NI, with spring field beans coming out as the most popular option for growers.
Don Morrow from DAERA said that after all applications were processed, 80 growers were deemed eligible for the pilot scheme.
“Most of the 20 applicants who were disallowed had ticked the protein crop box by error. Ten of the 80 applications were selected for inspection in July and all inspections went fine. There were no significant issues,” Morrow said during an online event on Tuesday.
The total area of protein crops that is eligible for payment is 680 hectares (ha), which is well below the maximum limit of 1,000 ha. It means that scheme participants will receive the full £330/ha/year payment.
Total payments for the 2021 scheme year will come to £224,578 or an average of £2,807 per farm.
Spring beans was by far the most common crop grown under the scheme with 593ha grown, followed by spring peas at 47ha.
The scheme will run again next year under the same criteria as the 2021 pilot. This means claims can be made on spring beans, spring peas, winter beans, spring sweet lupins and winter sweet lupins.
“Forage crops such as clover and alfalfa/lucerne are not eligible under this scheme. Those five crops are the only ones eligible at this moment in time,” Morrow said.
The advice to growers from CAFRE’s Leigh McClean was to have a market outlet in place before harvesting protein crops.
“This will determine when crops need to be harvested, whether they need treatment at harvesting and how they should be stored,” he said.
“Moisture content varies in protein crops and drying can be tricky. Some customers will want the seeds crimped and treated with propionic acid, but others will require delivery later in the year, so talk to your customer now” McClean added.