Tillage farmers are worried that poor crop establishment will result in penalties to their direct payments in 2024. The crop diversification requirements are also causing problems.

In a video played at this week’s Teagasc National Tillage Conference, Teagasc tillage adviser for Wicklow Eoin Lyons said: “I think land is so wet at the moment that we’re going to need excellent drying in order to get good conditions.

"There might be some people who have winter wheat seed in stock that might sow wheat in February, but I think it is going to be a very small proportion of the farmers in the area.”

Lyons said about 50% of winter crops were planted in the county.

Farmer Tom Shortt planted 45% of his winter crops. He said this season’s weather will affect his crop rotation for a number of years.

Bare patches

He explained that 5% to 8% of his crops had not emerged and there are bare patches in his fields.

“It’s [bare patches] not going to be acceptable to our Department. There is no crop in it, so this can’t be left.

"I think it’s a shame that we will have to come back and stitch in because it’s not going to be viable. You’re doing more damage to the existing crop trying to stitch it in,” he said.

Tom Nolan from Co Wexford also featured and explained that he only planted 30% of his winter area and received 10in of rain in the month after sowing.

He is considering reseeding, but explained that applying fertiliser and spraying may not be worth it. He said his crop rotation will have to change to facilitate the three-crop rule.


Last week, Tillage Industry Ireland called for flexibility around crop diversification requirements and clarification on how bare patches will be dealt with in inspections.

The organisation said there is a real risk farmers will fail to meet conditionality requirements and lose payments due to weather.