The period from mid-September through to the end of December is vital for the largest percentage of payments under the Rural Development Programme (RDP). As Table 1 demonstrates, these schemes are essential across every county in Ireland with in the region of 1.7bn paid under a range of schemes and measures.

The likely payment dates for 2021 are detailed below.

  • Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC): Advance ANC payments of 85% worth €182m had already been made to 85,000 farmers on 15 September. Regular pay runs take place under this scheme as cases are cleared for payment. Balancing payments of 15% will take place in December.
  • Basic Payment Scheme (BPS): The largest of all payments will begin on 18 October with 70% advance payments. The remaining 30% of payments are paid to cases cleared for payment in December. A small fund in the region of €13m will also likely be paid in June 2021 as part of the reimbursement of payment funds held back from 2020 payments to fund the EU Crisis Reserve.
  • Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environmental Scheme (GLAS): With payments totalling almost €200m in 2020, the GLAS is a vital payment source, delivering funds averaging in excess of €4,000 to over 47,000 farmers. Advance 85% payments began in early November 2020, with four further payment runs before the end of the year. Balancing payments of almost €30m take place in April.
  • Sheep Welfare Scheme: Advance payments amounting to 85% of the total payment were made in mid-November 2020, with 15% balancing payments in May 2021.
  • Organic Farming Scheme: Advance 85% payments take place in late November, with 15% balancing payments typically occurring in mid-May.
  • Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme – Sucklers: Some €40m of payments were released in the first week of December 2020, with a similar payment sum and schedule in 2021.
  • Dairy Calf Beef Programme: Launched in spring 2021, the payment for this new scheme is likely to be made to applicants who have satisfied weighing requirements in early-to-mid-December.
  • Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP): Payments under BDGP took place in mid-December in 2020 and a similar time frame is targeted again in 2021. Payments of €37m were initially made to 37,000 farmers, with total payments of 41.42m paid to 22,663 farmers. Farmers should ensure they have all survey information complete, genotype samples returned etc to ensure early payment.
  • Protein Aid Scheme: Payments of €2.88m were made to 966 in mid-December in 2020, with payments occurring at this time of year in recent years.
  • Results-Based Environment-Agri Pilot: Also new to the payment schedule in 2021, it is hoped that advance payments under REAP will begin in December, with balancing payments in line with other schemes and paid next April/May.
  • Miscellaneous payments: Payments under schemes such as the Traditional Farm Buildings and numerous EIPs such as the Hen Harrier Scheme, Pearl Mussel Project and the Burren Programme will take place in December. Payments under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) will take continue to take place on a weekly basis as payment applications are processed and cleared.