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Red clover silage and multispecies sward measures open

Red clover silage and multispecies sward measures open

Measures to promote the uptake of red clover silage and multispecies swards at farm level were today announced by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue.

First opened as a pilot in 2022, these measures are being reintroduced to promote environmentally sustainable methods of farming, which will have a positive impact on climate emissions, biodiversity and water quality.

With a budget of €2.5 million, farmers can avail of a potential payment rate of €300/ha in 2023, which is a significant increase on the payment rates of last year’s meaures.

Commenting on the reopening, Minister McConalogue said: “As part of the Government’s commitment to facilitating Irish farmers further improve the sustainability of Irish agriculture, I am delighted to announce the re-opening of these two measures, which will expand the areas already established under last year’s pilot programmes. I introduced the scheme last year to help farmers reduce their chemical fertiliser and it has proven to be successful."

This year’s measures will entail a number of key changes compared to last year’s pilot, notably:

  • Payments will be made directly to the approved farmer on a per hectare basis;
  • The payment rate has been increased significantly up to a potential €300/ha where eligible swards are established;
  • A reduced payment rate per hectare will apply as appropriate if eligible applications exceed the available combined budget for the two measures;
  • To receive payment under either measure, an applicant must indicate the correct crop type on their 2023 BISS application.

Minister of State Pippa Hackett, who has responsibility for Land Use and Biodiversity, also welcomed the opening of the measures, adding: "I’ve seen first-hand on farms across the country how effective multispecies swards can be. This is further evidence of the Government’s support for farmers who wish to move to more environmentally sustainable methods of farming. These swards will have a positive impact on greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity and water quality, while also providing a strong economic benefit to farmers."

Welcoming the opening of the scheme, Minister of State with responsibility for research and innovation, Martin Heydon said: “The significant investment in research to date has shown the economic potential that multispecies swards offer farmers and will help give farmers confidence to embrace these newer sward types. I encourage farmers to look at these measures and take advantage of the environmental and economic benefits they provide."

Terms and conditions for the multispecies sward measure and the red clover silage measure are available on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine's website. The application portal, which is available on Agfood.ie, will close on May 29th, 2023.

Also read: The multiple benefits of multispecies swards

Also read: Investigating the role of red clover on beef farms