Increasing the area of organic output in the tillage sector will be difficult because of the restricted scope of available markets.

Ciarán Collins of Teagasc said markets for organic cereals were “quite limited” and pointed out that demand for organic oats for Flahavans had actually “maxed out”.

While the Teagasc adviser described the doubling of funding under the Protein Aid Scheme to €7m – which will support the growing of 20,000ha of crops – and the retention of the Straw Incorporation Scheme as positive developments, he said CAP convergence and the eco scheme proposals were major challenges.

Collins maintained that land availability and high rental costs will ultimately limit the potential of the tillage sector to expand.