Applications to the Department of Agriculture’s Fodder Support Scheme continue to flow in steadily. There were 22,922 applications submitted as of 8 July 2022, representing an increase of 8,736 applications on the figure recorded two weeks earlier.

The graph below gives a county by county breakdown of applications and as can be seen, western counties continue to dominate the highest level of applications. This is not surprising given that dairy farmers with a milk supply contract are not eligible to apply.

The scheme offers payment for fodder saved in a one- or two-cut system and opened for applications initially on 17 June.

Farmers with lands classified as Category 1 lands under the Areas of Natural Constraint were initially excluded but permitted to apply from 23 June. The closing date for applications is 2 August 2022 and only forage conserved by 5 September is eligible.

It is important to note that there are a number of crops that fall under the grassland heading which are eligible for payment.

This includes BPS parcels recorded as alfalfa, arable silage (grass), clover, grass silage, grass years one to five, grass years one to five multi-species sward, grassmeal, lucerne, permanent pasture, permanent pasture MSS, red clover, and traditional hay meadow.

Step by step guide

A step-by-step guide for applying is detailed as follows.

  • Once you log on to, scroll down the list of options and select the heading “Exceptional Aid Measure”.
  • This will bring you through to a screen displaying links to the terms and conditions of the scheme and a link to submit queries. In the top left corner, click on the heading “select scheme to enter”.
  • This brings up three options – Fodder Support Scheme 2022, Beef Exceptional Aid Measure, and Beef Finisher Payment.
  • The next page will show your current details as registered with the Department and the option to create a new application.
  • Once this option is selected, it brings you to a portal which displays the total claimed area as per your 2022 BPS application, the area of non-payable hectares and the total area eligible for inclusion in the scheme.
  • The next step is entering the area in hectares that you are committing to cut and conserve as hay/silage in a first and second cut. The last steps are to accept four scheme declarations and then click on the “submit application” button at the bottom.

    Once submitted, you will be notified that an application has been submitted successfully.

  • Bumper hay crops

    The favourable weather conditions over the last 10 days have afforded farmers an excellent opportunity to save hay. The upturn in weather coincided with farmers being permitted to cut some 400,000ha of traditional hay meadows under the Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS).

    It is several years since there has been such a volume of hay offered for sale with volumes offered increasing by the day.

    This has witnessed prices sought for hay reduce from the prices reported earlier in the season which ranged anywhere from €35 to €45 per bale and even as high as €50/bale in the south east.

    Prices being sought this week for hay advertised fall mainly within a price range of €30 to €35 per bale with a growing percentage of hay offered at the lower end of this price range.

    There is also hay coming on to the market at lower prices of €27 to €28 per bale and as low as €25 has been quoted where farmers have purchased large consignments of bales, some of which are older meadows of lower-quality feed.

    Small square bales meanwhile are being quoted at prices of €3.50 to €4.00 per bale off the field.