Support for protein crops under the Protein Aid Scheme could be as high as €700/ha in 2023 if the total declared area is 10,000ha or less.

The maximum payment levels have already been set for each year and they get smaller for each of the years leading up to the 20,000ha target for 2026 and beyond.

As was the case in the past, the actual rate paid depends on the total area of eligible protein crops claimed.

This is subject to a maximum for each year - as shown in Table 1 - and the minimum payment that will apply in every year is €300/ha.

The projected rates shown in Table 1 are based on the area claimed for the €7m fund allocated.

So, for 2023, if the total claim is 12,007ha of protein-only crop, that would equate to €583/ha.

If only 10,000ha was claimed, the per-hectare payment would be €700. But if the total claim were only 9,000ha, the payment would still be €700/ha maximum, even though the calculated rate would be €778/ha.

On the flip side, if the total claimed area of protein-only crop was 15,000ha, the payment rate per hectare would drop to €467 in any of the years.

Base rate

The base rate for the new scheme is based on a payment of €350/ha, but that can drop as low as €300 in the event that the total claim exceeds 23,300ha in any year.

But in years where the total claim is lower than 20,000ha, growers will receive a somewhat higher payment, subject to the maximum set for the individual years, as shown in Table 1.

Mixtures of cereals and a protein crop can also receive aid at 50% of the rate that will apply to the pure single crop. This was also paid in 2022 as part of the response to incentivise native protein and reduce imports.

Soya beans can also receive the payment this time, but the annual aided area is subject to a maximum of 50ha nationally. The main aided crops are beans, lupins, peas, soya and the protein/cereal mixes.