Protein crops offer tillage farmers insurance, as farmers who grow these crops will receive a payment from the Department of Agriculture.

The Protein Aid Scheme’s budget is €7m per year and aims to encourage farmers to grow protein and therefore reduce the country’s dependence on imported protein, as well as reducing artificial nitrogen fertiliser use.

In 2023, the payment had been projected to be €583/ha by the Department of Agriculture at a planted area of approximately 12,000ha.

However, approximately 16,000ha of beans, peas and lupins were grown, while 1,700ha of protein/cereal mix crops were planted. The payment was set to be approximately €400/ha.

However, the Department of Agriculture increased the budget to €10m, an increase of €3m, in order to maintain the payment at the original estimate of €583/ha.

Farmers were paid €583/ha for pea, bean, lupin and soya bean crops in 2023 and €292/ha for protein/cereal mix crops.

2024 payment

Going on the Department’s original estimates for the protein payment, it was due to hit €500/ha in 2024 at an area of 14,000ha. However, the payment could be lower than this, as the area may increase and there is no guarantee of an increase in budget.

It is unclear what way protein area will go this year, as it is subject to fluctuations due to rotations, similar to oilseed rape area.

However, it is likely to hold up around the same area as 2023, so that payment may not be too far off. The maximum payment allowed to be paid in 2024 is €600/ha.

The Department’s aim is to have 20,000ha of protein grown in this country by 2030.

For more payment estimates, click here.