The national tillage area has increased by 19,791ha (6.1%) in 2022 compared with 2021, according to provisional figures from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Worryingly, fruit and vegetable area is down significantly.
The Tillage Incentive Scheme (TIS) launched by the Department of Agriculture aimed for 25,000ha of additional crops and, according to these figures, has reached 79% of its target area.
However, a large proportion of the increase in area came from winter crops, in the ground before that scheme came into effect, so we would likely have seen an increase in area, but certainly not to the same extent.
The scheme certainly appears to have impacted positively on the area of cereals and fodder for 2022.
The figures from this year’s Basic Payment Scheme applications show that the area under cereal crops increased by an impressive 12,943ha.
Among the cereal crops, winter barley area increased by 6,298ha, while winter wheat increased by 4,268ha.
Oats and triticale saw small decreases, while rye saw a massive increase relative to its area in 2021, rising by 1,417ha in 2022.
The total cereal crop area for 2022 stands at 288,480ha, compared with the provisional figure of 275,536ha released around this time in 2021. That’s an increase of 4.7% in cereals crop area.
Looking away from cereals, oilseed rape area increased dramatically. It now totals 15,774ha – an increase of 4,556ha on 2021.
Protein area is up. Beans planting was slow to get going and there were fears the area would not hit 10,000ha.
The guaranteed minimum payment of €300/ha under the Protein Aid Scheme must have helped to increase this area.
In 2022, the total protein area is estimated at 10,853ha, up 1,143ha on 2021. Beans take up the majority of this crop with 10,277ha.
Maize area is estimated to be up by 1,218ha to 15,646ha. Beet is estimated to be up 236ha to 9,467ha.
The total potato area is estimated to be down by 369ha to 8,470ha.
The area of oilseed rape, protein, maize, beet and potatoes is estimated to be up by 6,848ha to 60,209ha. That’s an increase of 14.7%.
The tillage area increased by 2.1% in 2021. Six percent is a substantial rise in area and the TIS no doubt had something to do with this increase.
The aim of that scheme was to plant an extra 25,000ha of crops and the total increase from these figures is 19,791ha.
Maize saw a substantial increase in area.
A decline was most likely coming in spring barley when winter cereal area increased, but that decline did not come and this can be largely put down to the TIS.
However, it is worth noting that a large amount of increases came in winter cereals and winter oilseed rape, so an increase in tillage area may have been on the cards, but likely not to the same extent if the TIS was not in place.
Fruit and vegetables
It should be noted that the tillage area figures above do not include fruit and vegetables.
The area planted to fruit and vegetables has declined in 2022 by almost 900ha from 7,481ha in 2021 to 6,600ha in 2022.
High costs and prices which were not covering those costs has led to a number of farmers leaving the sector in 2022.
It should be noted that this is preliminary data and is subject to change.
More on this story to follow.