Ireland is to notify the EU Commission of its intention to offer cereal farmers a derogation for crop diversification rules for 2023.
The derogation for 2023 is to support food security, with growers to be encouraged to cultivate crops for food production.
Making the announcement, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue explained the decision will afford farmers “maximum flexibility” regarding their planting decisions in the coming weeks as part of the EU response to the war in Ukraine.
“This change should be seen as complementing the measures already taken by the Government in 2022 to encourage Irish farmers to grow more tillage crops which in turn will help towards producing more food,” he said.
In relation to 2024, Mr McConalogue added: “My officials are engaging with Commission services in relation to the Crop Diversification and Crop Rotation requirements from 2024.
“I am pleased to announce that a hybrid of Crop Diversification and Crop Rotation, suitable to the Irish situation, has been agreed with the European Commission.” Further information in relation to the Crop Diversification and Crop Rotation requirements from 2024 will be announced in the coming weeks, when discussions with the European Commission have concluded.
The Three-Crop Rule and Greening are conditions of the current CAP rules which place obligations on tillage farmers regarding the number of crops that must be grown.
Farmers with more than ten hectares of arable land, but less than 30 hectares, must grow at least two crops. Those with more than 30 hectares must grow at least three crops.
Farmers also must ensure that the main crop does not exceed 75% of the arable area and for those required to grow more than two crops that the two main crops do not exceed 95% of the arable area.
Certain exemptions exist to these crop diversification rules – the main one being that those with more than 75% grassland are exempt.
While Greening will not exist within the new CAP, elements of Greening have been moved into Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC).
A hybrid of Crop Rotation and Crop Diversification suitable to the Irish situation has been agreed with the European Commission.
As well as the two-crop and three-crop rule, a new crop rotation requirement will also apply at parcel level, meaning there must be a change of the crop in each parcel by the end of the four-year cycle.