The Food Vision tillage group has recommended that a tillage expansion and sustainability scheme should be established.

Such a scheme would incentivise farmers to get into tillage, provide a maintenance payment over a five-year period, as well as providing payments to farmers already in tillage who are implementing environmentally-friendly farming practices.

The group met on Wednesday 21 February, to discuss what is thought to be the final draft of the report to be recommended to Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue.

The group has also suggested that high-grade land suitable for tillage should be restricted from converting to solar farming and for “green taxation” to provide incentives for land to be leased to tillage farmers.

An increase in the Straw Incorporation Measure’s budget, an expansion of the Protein Aid Scheme and extending the range of items available under the Tillage Capital Investment Scheme are all to be examined.

It recommended that a working group should be set up to develop proposals to facilitate an increase in the transfer of organic manures to tillage farms from livestock, while encouraging the preferential use of Irish feed grain and protein to exploit opportunities for value-added Irish feed.

The report includes a total of 23 recommendations to help to support and improve the tillage sector. Career promotion in tillage and more research into products for the food and drink sectors were also suggested.

An action to explore opportunities for developing a milling wheat industry remains in the report.

However, many in industry and research personnel are to be convinced of its viability.

Crop insurance also takes up a substantial amount of space in the report and the need for an investigation into its viability in Ireland. It mentions plans in place in France and Spain and how it was left out of the CAP strategic plan in Ireland for 2023-2027 due to “little support from stakeholders”.