The Irish Farmers Journal understands that the Department of Agriculture is working on getting some flexibility, or a derogation, from the crop diversification requirements, commonly known as the three-crop rule.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue is understood to have pushed for the change. However, EU rules may not allow for a derogation which other countries have also applied for.

Under CAP requirements, tillage farmers are required to grow at least two or three crops, depending on the size of their cropping area. However, many farmers struggled to plant their winter crops this season and are now on the back foot in meeting these requirements.

They also face a challenge to secure seed for spring planting as last year’s weather reduced crop yields and the amount of crops which passed for seed due to quality issues.

Farmers have been asking for flexibility on rules at recent tillage meetings and conferences and the IFA stated that it told the Department that flexibility is needed for farmers struggling to meet the requirements. The Department has also confirmed this week that farmers will not be penalised for bare patches in crops.