Farmers interested in applying for the recently announced Multi Species Sward Measure (MSSM) have a short window to confirm their decision and get an application submitted by the closing date of Monday 4 April.
The scheme which opened for applications on 25 March and has €2m in funding allocated is targeting the establishment of 12,000ha of multi species swards (MSS).
There is no payment made directly to the farmer, instead the measure will work by the Department of Agriculture providing a financial contribution of €50 per 12kg bag of MSS seed to participating co-ops/agri-retailers to offset part of the cost of purchasing.
The MSS must be sown at a recommended seeding rate of 30kg/ha or the equivalent of one 12kg bag of seed per acre.
Farmers must commit to sowing a minimum of 1ha to be deemed eligible while the maximum area allowable is 20ha.
Applicants cannot select their own seed mixture and must abide by the recommendation outlined in Table 1.
The Department states that all varieties of perennial ryegrasses included in the multi species sward mixture must be listed on the Department of Agriculture Grass and White Clover Recommended List varieties for Ireland 2021/22.
The approved applicant must retain at least one of the official seed labels from the packs showing the composition of the multi-species sward mixture.
The Department states that in the event of the measure being oversubscribed then they may implement a reduction coefficient to the quantities of seed approved as they deem appropriate.
Commonage lands or lands under Natura 2000 or Natural Heritage Area designation are not eligible for the measure. Farmers who are participating in the Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) or Results-Based Environment Agri Pilot (REAP) can apply but obviously lands under measures in these schemes will not be eligible in the MSS measure.
The following is a summary of the main aspects of applying and participating in the scheme.
In submitting a MSSM application, applicants agree to permit officials of the Department to carry out on-farm inspections at any reasonable time and without prejudice to public liability. Every on-the-spot inspection will be the subject of a report.