The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) has said that Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue must deliver an exemption for tillage farmers from crop diversification requirements, more commonly known as the two- or three-crop rule.

The Irish Farmers Journal this week published news that work is under way to apply for that derogation.

“I’m glad [Minister McConalogue] has now confirmed that he is seeking an exemption from the rule. This must be secured as a matter of urgency,” IFA grain committee chair Kieran McEvoy stated.

“The situation is now more serious and DAFM must urgently seek approval from Brussels for a derogation to the GAEC 7 requirements of crop diversification and the three-crop rule,” he added.

He noted that the IFA office in Brussels will also be working on these issues.

Seed shortage

Speaking on issues with seed, McEvoy said: “It has been well documented that the supply of cereal seed is extremely finely balanced for this season. Many growers will have planned on establishing winter wheat varieties in the month of February.

"However, recent rainfall has made this impossible. This further highlights the need for flexibility in making cropping decisions on farm.”

The IFA stated that the organisation met with the crop policy division in the Department of Agriculture at the end of last month and IFA president Francie Gorman raised issues in tillage with the Minister recently.