The Food Vision Tillage Group is to request support funding for the tillage sector of €60m for the 2024 season.

The group met to finalise the Food Vision Tillage report on Wednesday 13 March. That report is to be signed off by this Wednesday 20 March to be presented to the Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue.

The report consists of 25 actions to help to maintain and support the area of tillage, while also trying to increase the tillage area and meet the Government’s target in the Climate Action Plan to increase the tillage area by 400,000ha.

Fourteen of these actions are marked as a priority.

These include a tillage sustainability payment, work to import organic manures onto tillage land, taxation benefits for leasing land to tillage farmers, driving the preferential use of Irish feed grain for value added Irish feed and examining an Irish model for crop insurance.

Report actions

However, the actions of the report are unlikely to be implemented without consideration and dedicated funding which would come from the budget at the end of the year.

Tillage industry experts are estimating that the tillage area could decline by 20-30,000ha. Loss of rented land, poor grain prices and poor returns and wet weather for planting are all contributing to this.

The €60m would be aimed at replacing money lost by tillage farmers through convergence and supporting tillage farmers to help them stay in the sector.

Representatives at the group have suggested that if the Government wants to increase tillage area then it needs to be supported similarly to organics, forestry and woodland creation. The Organic Farming Scheme has funding of €57m in 2024. The €60m would be separate to funding for protein or straw payments and would be new money for the sector.