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Agroforestry

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, including 15% fruit and nut trees. Other species can also be considered on a site-by-site basis.

Large plants (90cm - 120cm) should be used. Planting should be carried out using pit planting. The use of an auger is another option.

Initial stocking rate should be between 400 and 1000 trees per hectare equally spaced out (e.g. 5m x 5m or 7m x 3.5m). Minimum plot size is 0.5 ha with a tree-to-tree width of 20m. 

Fencing and allowable agricultural activities

Each tree should be protected by two sturdy posts and a tree shelter. The tree shelter should be rigid, 1.5m tall and checked regularly.

Grazing by sheep or young domestic stock is permitted during spring and summer for the first six to eight years. 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. The incorporation of headlands to facilitate the turning of machinery should form part of the plan.

Soils

Ideally, sites should contain free draining mineral soils and should have no requirement for additional drainage or 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 can be funded. 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 agroforestry must remain under forestry and therefore is subject to a replanting obligation.

The grant application is made by the forest owner in association with a Registered Forester: 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 Grant available
(€/ha)

GPC 11 – Agro-forestry

4215 1405 600 450 6220

Premium Rate (€/ha)

Grant/Premium Category (GPC)Annual premium <10ha
(€/ha)
Annual premium >10ha
(€/ha)
Premium duration
(years)
GPC 11 – Agro-forestry 645 660 5