The outlook for protein output looks positive as farmers look to these nitrogen-fixing crops, which do not require nitrogen application, amidst high fertiliser prices.

The Department of Agriculture added two new varieties to its spring beans recommended list last week – Caprice and Victus. Victus claims to be low in anti-nutritional compounds vicine and covicine and so may be more attractive to the feed industry for inclusion in animal feed.

The introduction of new varieties bodes well for the tillage industry’s target to double the protein area to 20,000ha by 2030. The strategic plan was produced by the Irish protein stakeholders group and launched in December by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue.

However, in 2022, the expected increase in protein area will dilute the protein payment.

In 2021, farmers received €300/ha of protein grown. This is likely to decrease in 2022 as the €3m budget for the Protein-Aid Scheme is divided by the area planted. That budget is set to increase to €7m in the new CAP in 2023.

Click here to view the recommended list.