The waiting game for GLAS applicants is nearly over, with approval letters to go out in next three weeks.
Farmers should receive a start date of October 1 if approved, and it is only after these letters have been received, that GLAS-related work can commence on farms.
Some farmers will have more work to do than others, but the part payment of about €800 for 2015 should help in paying for materials needed in carrying out some of the actions chosen.
Fencing watercourses, new hedgerow establishment, and hedgerow laying, were popular options in GLAS 1; work can soon commence on these.
Your GLAS application summary is now available from your planner. This should be studied in detail, to familiarise yourself with the actions that need to be completed. This will be unique to every farmer, no two plans will be exactly the same.
This summary contains the selected actions chosen by you, and an accompanying colour map, similar to the basic payment maps.
These maps are used to indicate the location of the actions chosen, and it is important not to deviate from the locations set out on your plan. Unfortunately, you cannot change the location of options selected, or choose to complete different options at this stage.
This ruling was similar in the REPS and AEOS schemes, and resulted in a number of unnecessary penalties, when a small number of farmers completed works on the incorrect land parcel numbers.
The good news is that the plan documents and maps are more streamlined and simplified than for REPS, and easier to understand, which should minimise penalties.
A nutrient management plan and soil samples to determine phosphorous and lime requirements must be completed by all successful GLAS applicants by the end of next year. This is to optimise the efficient use of slurry and fertilisers, and should be beneficial to every farmer.
I would encourage all GLAS applicants to take soils samples this year, in November and December, or January 2016, during the closed period for spreading fertiliser or organic manures.
Taking samples outside the closed period results in artificially high readings, and will reduce your phosphorous allowance — so it is not advisable.
For farmers that did not apply for GLAS 1 in May, there will be another opportunity to apply when the scheme opens on October 1. There will be a six to eight-week window for applications.
With only 10,000 places available this time, most farmers should be looking at priority actions such as wild bird cover or low emission slurry spreading, to move them up the rankings.
There will also be farmers currently in AEOS 1, and possibly AEOS 2, looking to apply, to guarantee themselves another five-year term of payments. This should further add to demand, but hopefully the majority who apply will be successful.
John O’Connell (086-3067663) is a GLAS planner. He will present GLAS 2 information meetings at the Killarney Heights Hotel, Monday, September 28, and at Iveragh Mart, Caherciveen, on Wednesday, September 30, at 8pm both nights
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