Pig farmers will be able to apply for up to €70,000 under a second direct aid package for the sector, which received Cabinet approval on Wednesday.

To claim payments, pig farmers will be required to cut production by 10%, carry out a biosecurity assessment, report quarterly on antibiotic usage and have a pig tail check carried out.

The €13m package falls short of the €100m rescue proposal which had been sent to the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue by the IFA, Meat Industry Ireland and the Irish Grain and Feed Association.

The support will take the form of a grant and farmers will not be required to repay any of the aid, as had been a condition included in the proposed €100m package.

It is understood that payment rates will operate in a similar way to the first aid package, which was worth €7m (up to €20,000 per farmer) whereby the number of sows dictated the level of payment.

Horticulture package

A €3m fund for horticulture and vegetable growers was also approved by Cabinet.

High wire growers, such as cucumber and tomato farmers, as well as field vegetable, mushroom and apple growers will also be able to apply for the support. There are no details on this scheme yet as to the level of payment per farmer.

It is understood that funding for the pig and horticulture packages will come from the €15.8m in EU crisis reserve funding Ireland is to receive for farmers and that further funding supports for livestock have not been ruled out yet.

IFA president Tim Cullinan said the IFA will be assessing the details of whatever? pig scheme is brought forward.

He said it would be important that there is no unrealistic conditionality attached to the scheme.