New 10ha limit on hay mead­ows

Irish Independent - Farming - - Front Page -

A 10HA LIMIT will be im­posed on the amount of land that a farmer can put into species­rich grass­land and tra­di­tional hay mead­ows in this year’s AEOS scheme.

The new max­i­mum is one of sev­eral changes from the scheme launched last year.

For this year, farm­ers who have ap­plied for a ni­trates dero­ga­tion on their land will not be al­lowed to claim pay­ment in the species-rich grass­land, tra­di­tional hay meadow, ri­par­ian mar­gins, arable mar­gins or es­tab­lish­ment and main­te­nance of habi­tats mea­sures.

It is un­der­stood that some pay­ments to around 100 dero­ga­tion farm­ers in last year’s scheme are now un­der scrutiny by Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture of­fi­cials, even though agri­cul­tural con­sul­tants main­tain this was not made clear in the terms and con­di­tions last year.

Other farm­ers have fallen foul of the rule that they can only claim one mea­sure per land par­cel. For ex­am­ple, a farmer who planted a new hedgerow along the edge of a tra­di­tional hay meadow needed to di­vide the land into two sep­a­rate parcels to get paid on both mea­sures.

Other changes

to

this year’s scheme in­clude the re­quire­ment for a soil sam­ple from the farm. Soil sam­ples will only be re­quired af­ter a farmer has been ap­proved for en­try into the scheme and must be sup­plied be­fore March 31, 2012.

Mean­while, the Depart­ment is to start in­spec­tions on 5pc of the farms that were ap­proved for the AEOS scheme last year. Around 400-450 farms will be in­spected in the com­ing weeks.

It is un­der­stood that pay­ments will be is­sued to farm­ers once on-farm in­spec­tions have been com­pleted and ap­proved by the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture.

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