There are big changes facing Irish farming in the coming years, with a new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) coming into force, new rules around slurry spreading and storage, and carbon emissions targets.
The new CAP will result in changes to every farmer’s direct payments and see farmers take part in new schemes where they will carry out a range of environmental and climate measures.
Under the Nitrates Action Programme, changes on slurry storage and fertiliser spreading are being proposed.
The current plan on the table, which is out for consultation, proposes an extra six weeks of a closed period for slurry spreading and for farmers to build storage tanks for soiled water. Irish Farmers Journal estimates suggest this could cost up to €18,000.
Meanwhile, the next agri-food strategy for Ireland’s food and drinks sector was approved by Government recently.
It contains targets to increase agri-food exports to €21bn by 2030 and while it is based around economic, environmental and social sustainability, the strategy has come in for criticism for being light on detail on farm incomes.
Later this year, the Government will set carbon emissions budgets across all sectors of the economy, including agriculture.
These budgets will see farmers having to reduce a set number of emissions within a certain time period and will be constantly reviewed.