Farmers who planted protein crops like beans and peas this season stand to receive a payment of approximately €320/ha at the end of the season, an increase of €105/ha on 2020.

The area planted to crops which qualify for the Protein Aid Payment in 2021 has declined by 3,759ha from 2020 to 9,863ha.

The payment under the scheme is calculated by dividing the budget of €3mfor the scheme by the area planted.

Beans take up the bulk of the area planted to these crops at 9,365ha.

Spring beans accounted for 94% of the area, but winter bean plantings almost doubled from 2020 to 598ha.

Beans, peas and lupins qualify for the protein payment. The Department of Agriculture has set a target to increase the area planted to beans to 40,000ha over the next decade.

Protein area was at just 3,500ha in 2014 before the introduction of the scheme. Last season the area peaked at 13,750ha, resulting in a payment of €215/ha. This is the lowest payment allocated under the scheme and was also paid in 2017 from a lower budget.

The price paid under the scheme peaked at €365/ha in 2019. Beans do not receive any artificial nitrogen and are a good break crop in a tillage rotation. They can also offer a home-grown protein source in animal feed rations.