Around 100 tillage farmers received letters from the Department’s Basic Payment unit last week, advising them of impending penalties because they amended their BPS applications after 31 May.

While penalties can apply for late amendments, growers had until 12 June to withdraw parcels from inclusion in the new straw incorporation measure (SIM).

The letters indicated that the stated penalties would apply to additional parcels added, rather than the withdrawal of parcels, as was happening with SIM applicants.

However, the second paragraph of the letter indicated that a specific level of penalty will apply, but this is not the case.

Penalties would only apply if new parcels were added, which is not possible in the SIM. The main reason for these tillage amendments was to withdraw some parcels from the SIM because of a demand for the straw.

As we understand it, any growers who accessed their BPS accounts purely to withdraw parcels from the straw chopping scheme can ignore the letter and there is no need to reply or respond.

Meanwhile, the Irish Farmers Journal understands the estimated pay-out under the scheme will be in the region of €8.5m.