There will be a net increase in land classified as Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) when the new maps are released in the coming weeks, the Irish Farmers Journal understands.

A small amount of good land in the west will be de-classified as ANC but overall more areas will be in than out. In the budget, €250m was allocated to ANC for 2019. Additional land in the scheme is not expected to have a major impact on the overall budget as most new areas are less severely handicapped. Payments are skewed to favour more disadvantaged areas such as hills. It appears payments for each classification of land type will not vary much from the current system. It also seems there will be no change to the minimum stocking rate requirements.