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Agro-Forestry

Combining trees with grazing or silage (Grant and Premium Category 11)

Agroforestry is the practice of combining forestry and agriculture in a mutually beneficial way.

Tree species 

Acceptable species include oak, sycamore and cherry but other species can also be considered on a case by case basis. Large plants (90 cm - 120 cm) should be used. Planting should be carried out using pit planting where possible.  

Initial stocking rate should be between 400 and 1000 trees per hectare equally spaced out. Minimum plot size is 0.5 ha while minimum plot width is 20 metres.

Allowable agricultural activities

Grazing by sheep or young domestic stock is permitted during spring and summer for the first six to eight years. Trees must be protected and tree shelters checked regularly. Once trees are of a sufficient size, tree shelters can then be replaced with plastic mesh and larger stock can be introduced.

Silage and hay production is also permitted. It is important that appropriate machinery is used when cutting silage and/or hay so as to ensure that the trees are not inadvertently damaged.

Soils

Ideally, sites should contain free draining mineral soils and should have no requirement for additional drainage.

In general, sites suitable for agro-forestry should not require additional fertiliser for tree growth. However, additional nitrogen (up to 100kg/ha) may be required to promote grass growth for spring/summer grazing. This can be assessed on a site by site basis.

Grant aid

80% of eligible costs are covered. Land classified by the Department as ‘unimproved/unenclosed’ (i.e. GPC 1) will not be eligible for support under GPC11.

Grant rates and payment structure are paid on a fixed grant basis. Premiums will be paid for five years and will cover the cost of maintenance only.

The maximum grant and premium rates are detailed below. The afforestation grant is a fixed grant to cover the costs incurred in the establishment of a forest and paid exclusive of VAT. It is paid in two instalments as outlined below. An additional allowance for fencing (to the maximum rates detailed below) is payable with the First Grant instalment.

Please note that agro-forestry must remain under forestry and therefore is subject to a re-planting obligation.

The grant application is made by the forest owner in association with a List of Registered Foresters (PDF). Valuable information on how to make a grant application, eligibility requirements, available options, etc. can be found here: How do I get work done?.

Grant Rates (€/ha)

Grant/Premium Category (GPC)1st Grant
(€/ha)
2nd Grant
(€/ha)
Additional Fencing Allocation (IS436)Alternative Fencing Allocation
(Non IS436)
Total Available Funding
(€/ha)
GPC 11 – Agro-Forestry 2960 990 500 450 4450

Premium Rate (€/ha)

Grant/Premium Category (GPC)Annual premium (€/ha)Duration (years)
GPC 11 – Agro-Forestry 260 5