The Department of Agriculture has granted flexibility to farmers participating in the Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES) to allow non-Irish origin whitethorn plants to be used when establishing hedgerows under the scheme.
The change only applies to whitethorn and all other hedge species planted as an ACRES action must be of Irish providence, as was the case for whitethorn before the Department's rule change.
The flexibility comes on the back of a “heightened demand” for whitethorn plants in recent months, according to the Department.
Farmers and nursery suppliers had reported difficulties in sourcing sufficient stocks of whitethorn plants to plant all hedgerows applied for.
Imported whitethorn can be used across all ACRES hedgerow plantings: both tranche one and two of the scheme, as well as under the non-productive investment (NPI) options available to farmers in co-operation zones.
The deadline for submitting application plans for ACRES NPIs has been set for 6 December, with the scheme’s second tranche now open until 13 December.