Ireland has a particular reliance on high protein feed imports and many recent policy documents point to the need to increase native production.

Since 2015, this was promoted under the Voluntary Coupled Support Scheme for Protein Crops.

This scheme is to be continued but with a higher target production area of 20,000ha (increased from 12,000ha).

Soya beans and mixed cropping are to be added to the eligible crops already in the scheme. Mixed cropping, used in organic farming, is described as a combinable crop consisting of two or more species where the protein crop consists of at least 50% of the seeding rate.

To help achieve a more robust financial performance, the base support level has been increased to €350/ha for the single crops and €175/ha for the mixtures.

Payment rate

The payment rate will be linked to the area grown in any year, relative to the targeted 20,000ha. A maximum of 50ha of soya beans will be aided annually. In the event of an under declaration on the 20,000ha target, the maximum payment will be €500/ha for peas, beans, lupins and soya and €250/ha for mixed cropping.

In the event of an over-claim, the minimum amounts payable are to be €300/ha and €150/ha, respectively.