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In January 2015 the Single Farm Payment (SFP) will be replaced by two distinct payments:

  1. Basic Payment Scheme (approx. 70% of the total payment)
  2. Greening (approx. 30% of the total payment).

Both of these schemes are mandatory to ensure full payment.

Greening comprises three distinct parts:

  • A. Ploughing Permanent Pasture
  • B. Crop Diversification
  • C. Ecological Focus Area

All farmers must be assessed for Greening requirements. Farmers with grassland only will be exempt, whereas farmers with tillage only must comply with greening requirements to secure 30% of their direct support. Detailed rules are on the DAFM website (.pdf, see page 24). The DAFM estimates, based on previous SFP tillage applications, that at least 30% of farmers are not compliant with greening.

A. Ploughing Permanent Grassland

There are no restrictions in ploughing permanent grassland, except in areas of Natural Habitats. Ploughing grassland will be monitored at a national level. Essentially Ireland would have to convert more than 5% of its grassland area into arable crops for individual farmers to be affected and controlled.

B. Crop Diversification

The aim of this measure is to encourage crop diversity.

Exemptions to Crop Diversification

The main exemptions for greening are as follows:

  • Where 75% of the eligible land is in grassland and the tillage area is not greater than 30 hectares
  • Certified organic farmers
  • Arable area less than 10 ha

Crop Diversification

The main elements of the measure are as follows:

  • There is no ‘crop diversification’ requirement where a farmer declares less than 10 hectares of arable land.
  • A farmer with between 10 and 30 hectares of arable land is obliged to grow at least two crops, and any one crop cannot exceed 75% of the arable land.
  • A farmer with over 30 hectares of arable land is obliged to grow at least 3 crops. The main crop shall not cover more than 75% of the arable land; the 2 main crops together must not cover more than 95% of the arable land. Permanent grassland does not count as a crop for the three crop rules. Temporary grassland can be counted as a crop and therefore comes into the calculation if greening is required.

C. Ecological Focus Areas (EFA)

Where a farmer has more than 15 hectares of arable land (and is not exempt, see above), EFAs need to be equivalent to at least 5% of the total arable land declared.


  • Grassland = permanent grassland + temporary grassland
  • Permanent grassland = currently grassland and declared as grassland on preceding five or more SFP applications. e.g. arable in 2009, grassland in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 = Permanent Pasture in 2015
  • Temporary grassland = currently grassland and declared as arable on any of the previous five SFP applications. e.g. arable in 2010, grassland in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 = Temporary grassland in 2015
  • Tillage = all tillage crops (wheat, barley, rape, beans, beet, potatoes, maize etc. as per SFP).
  • Arable = all tillage crops and temporary grassland and fallow (arable)
  • Fallow (arable) = Must have been in tillage in one of the previous 5 years and in fallow from 1 Jan to 30 June of the year of declaration

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