Tillage farmers have applied to chop 52,480ha of straw, or over 1.3m bales, under this year's Straw Incorporation Measure (SIM).

Some 2,500 applications have been received by the Department of Agriculture.

If all of this straw is incorporated and paid for under the measure, it will amount to €11.91m from a budget of €15m.

The budget was increased this season from €10m to €15m, meaning that all applications made will be eligible for payment, provided criteria is met.

The date has now passed to change areas under the measure for farmers. However, in the event that fodder is needed it is understood that farmers can take land out of the scheme.

It should be noted that the Department of Agriculture has stated that the areas are subject to change as processing of applications will continue for a number of months before payments are issued.

Winter oilseed rape accounts for 11,100ha, spring barley 10,700ha and winter wheat 10,000ha in the applications at present.