In its submission to the CAP consultation Drinks Ireland has called for a scheme similar to the Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme or the Coupled Income Support for Protein Aid to be implemented for spring barley to ensure Irish grain supply for the brewing and distilling industries remains sufficient.

The organisation also called for a plan to be put in place to achieve the target of increasing tillage area as outlined in Food Vision 2030.

CAP proposals and tillage

In a recent announcement, Drinks Ireland stated that: “Ireland’s CAP [Common Agricultural Policy] strategic plan should support a fair income for Irish tillage farmers."

The organisation, headed up by Patricia Callan, has expressed major concern over the impact of the next CAP on the tillage sector, and therefore the supply of Irish grain to the drinks industry.

In its submission to the CAP consultation Drinks Ireland called for support through policy and noted that the Department’s redistribution modelling exercise displayed how 34-45% of tillage farmers will be negatively affected by Complementary Redistributive Income Support for Sustainability (CRISS) and called for the impact of this measure to be reviewed.

The organisation outlined the low emission levels from tillage compared to other farming sectors, describing how tillage has a carbon footprint more than four times lower than dairy and more than two times lower than beef.

Drinks Ireland recalled targets in Food Vision 2030 which aim for an increase in area planted under spring barley and wants to see a plan to achieve this increase.

Missed opportunity

The absence of a Pillar 2 scheme to support a sustainable supply of Irish produced grain for distilling and brewing was described as a “missed opportunity” by Drinks Ireland.

The organisation noted that: “Proposed interventions fail to include any specific scheme to support the sustainable supply of Irish produced malt and grain for the Irish drinks industry which in turn would have provided a further scheme of support to Irish tillage farmers. This is a missed opportunity.

“We note the proposed Pillar 1 eco-scheme for Coupled Income Support for Protein Aid, and the proposed Pillar 2 intervention for a Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme.

“We believe these offer models that could be adapted to develop a further appropriate eco-scheme or intervention aimed at supporting the sustainable supply of eligible tillage crops for specific use in Irish malting, distilling or brewing; and/or develop and test innovative solutions involving indigenous crops. The development of a further eco-scheme/intervention would support the CAP objectives of promoting shorter supply chain and reducing carbon emissions.”

Crop rotation

Drinks Ireland also outlined its concerns over the crop rotation measure under the Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition measures. It recommends that the Department minimise the impact of this measure on the planting of spring barley for the drinks industry, adding that a plan needs to be implemented to increase tillage production.

The statement reads: “Drinks Ireland calls on the Department to commence work on the preparation of a detailed implementation plan to drive the delivery of this Food Vision 2030 target. This should address the objective of ensuring sustainable supply of Irish produced malt and grain for the Irish drinks industry; including an increase in the area planted under spring barley.”