More than 400 farmers thronged the Mullingar Park Hotel at our final CAP seminar on Tuesday night. There were a couple of key take-home messages that all farmers need to pay critical attention to before calving and lambing starts in earnest in the coming weeks.

The more preparatory work you can do now, the easier the application process will be in the coming weeks. Remember, you will be far more tired and anxious in two months’ time when the very thought of sorting out maps will be very difficult.

First and foremost, you should now check your land holding for the percentage of space for nature (this is any area of your farm classed as delivering an environmental benefit, eg hedgerows, drains, stonewalls, groves of trees, scrub etc).

The Department of Agriculture has estimated this from the eye in the sky. You now need to check how good the eye in the sky is.

If it’s wrong, you are going to have to make changes to the maps when you are making your BPS application.

This space for nature will qualify you for the eco-schemes portion (25%) of your application this year, and each year thereafter.

The second standout message is for those who are involved in land leasing. Both the landowners and the farmers leasing the land need to be aware that the amount of money coming from the EU/Department in the post is going to change in 2023.

Don’t let it be a surprise to either party when the cheque lands next autumn, and instead discuss now what changes are going to happen to the entitlement values on that leased land.

The CAP calculator will help you with the numbers, but you need to make the appointment to sit down with the landowner or vice versa.

Selling entitlements

Related to this is for those farmers considering selling entitlements, there is a two-year period (2023 and 2024) where clawback on sales has been suspended. The Department suggests the 20% clawback will return for 2025.

The key message is that those considering long-term leasing land again, maybe with entitlements, should perhaps do the numbers on selling entitlements in the next two years rather than locking them in to another five year lease. Or where you are locking in to a long-term lease make allowances for a change in values and the fact that we do not know what will be in the next CAP reform post-2027.

It came up repeatedly in Mullingar from the floor – if you are considering entering ACRES (the new environmental scheme), organics, or the upcoming five-year suckler cow scheme in the new CAP, you are committing to stay with that land area for five years. It’s not always possible on leased land.

The final message I’ll include here is the area around trading of entitlements. The market is expected to get up and going in the next few weeks for leasing and selling entitlements.

The core message from the Department officials on Tuesday night was that the inherent value of entitlements will be around the core BISS portion of the entitlement.

In essence the eco scheme and CRISS, or frontloading, is now totally separate to the entitlement value and does not transfer with an entitlement. This is now linked to an eligible hectare and will not be part of the conversation on trading entitlements. In the past the multiplier for valuing entitlements was based on the whole entitlement value including Greening.


Let’s be crystal clear, there is change for everyone regarding entitlements, the values and eligible land so the clear message is start the application process in plenty of time, well ahead of the mid-May deadline.

We will publish a CAP magazine to be included in the Irish Farmers Journal very soon. We will also have a library of videos and podcasts on the various topics. We will do our best to keep you up to date on a weekly basis in the Irish Farmers Journal.

Make contact with us if you have queries and we will do our best to get you an answer.