The Department of Agriculture has launched the 2023 Multi Species Sward Measure and Red Clover Silage Measure, with both schemes offering the potential for a higher payment of up to €300/ha.

There is a €2.5m budget allocated and if the total claims exceed this figure, the Department states a reduced payment per hectare will apply as appropriate.

The following are frequently asked questions and answers collated by the Department. Most questions relate to both schemes unless otherwise stated.

Q. Who can submit an application?

A. A farmer or his/her FAS approved adviser can apply for the measure.

Will the measure be operated similar to the 2022 pilot measure?

No, payments will now be made on a per-hectare basis. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will make payments directly to the farmer as opposed to reimbursing agri-retailers/co-ops who have discounted the price of seed.

Will agri-retailers/co-ops need to be registered with the Department to participate in this measure?

No. However, only seed that meets the Department’s multispecies sward species mix or red clover silage species mix specifications is eligible for aid.

Is there a minimum number of species that should be included in the MSSM mix?

Yes, the Department has a set list of plant species that must be included in the multispecies swards mixture and the minimum quantities of each type of seed that must be sown per hectare.

Can I include additional species above the minimum requirement in the MSSM mix?

Yes, The six-species mix required by this Department must at least contain the minimum quantities per hectare set out in the terms and conditions. If desired, additional species may be added in line with good agricultural practices for the establishment of multispecies swards.

Can I choose my own species mix and quantities of seed?

No, following extensive consultation, the Department has a set list of plant species and the quantities of red clover that must be included in the red clover mixture.

Can farmers in the Organic Farmer Scheme participate?

Yes. Where there is no availability of the required organic seeds then a derogation application must be made by the applicant to the Organic Control Body for the use of non-organic seed which must be non-chemically treated.

Can a farmer who did not/will not submit a 2023 Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) application enter the measure?

No, the measure will only accept participants with a valid BISS application 2023. Participants will also have to declare the correct crop code(s) for the relevant parcel(s) on their BISS application.

How will I know if my application was successful?

A letter of approval will be issued to each successful applicant confirming acceptance into the scheme.

Do I need to declare the area I will be sowing at application stage?

No, the application phase will consist of confirming an expression of interest in participating in the measure. It is not necessary to put in an area at application stage.

Do I declare the area sown when submitting my claim?

Yes, applicants should indicate the area they have sown at claim stage and upload their supporting documentation. Applicants must also indicate the crop type as multispecies swards or red clover on their 2023 BISS application, on the parcel(s) where they are sowing multispecies sward mixture.

Are partnerships eligible to apply?

Yes, farmers in a farm partnership registered with the Department are eligible to apply provided that the application is made in the same name as the partnership’s BISS application for 2023.

Land entered will be across the entire partnership holding. All partners are jointly and individually responsible for adhering to the measure’s terms and conditions.

Can partnerships get increased levels of contributions where there are two or more in the partnership?

No, each partnership application will be treated as a single entity and be subject to the maximum area of 20ha.

How long will the application phase be open?

The application process will be open from 12 April 2023 till the 29 May 2023.

When can I buy the multispecies or clover seed?

Only seed purchased after the application has been submitted and before the closing date for sowing the seed of 15 July 2023 can receive aid under this measure.

Can a herd number currently in the name “REPS of” apply?

No, “REPS of” herd numbers are not eligible to apply.

What will happen if the measure is oversubscribed?

In the event of eligible applications being received in excess of the available budget for the measure, a reduced payment rate per hectare will apply.

Are all land areas eligible to be included?

No. The following areas are excluded from the multispecies sward measure: commonage land, Natura 2000 sites, NHA designated land as well as Environmentally Sensitive Permanent Grassland or land within archaeological monument buffer zones.

Are applicants participating in the multispecies sward eco scheme eligible to participate in this measure?

Yes, Applicants participating in the Agricultural Practice 8 Eco-Scheme - Sowing a Multi-Species Sward are eligible to participate in the Multi Species Sward Measure but will only be eligible where the Multi Species Swards Measure is adopted in different parcel(s) to Eco-Scheme Agricultural Practice 8.