Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Questions (438)

Michael Colreavy

Question:

438. Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if land with rushes growing on it is considered grazable land; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11544/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

In order to be eligible under the Single Payment Scheme and other area based schemes, an applicant must ensure that all agricultural land is maintained in good agricultural and environmental condition (GAEC). Farmers can keep grassland in GAEC by conducting an agricultural activity on it such as grazing, harvesting forage crops, or by topping. Grasslands continue to be eligible where it is evident that the stocking rate used by the applicant on the land is sufficient and, for example, can keep rushes under control and avoid their proliferation. In such situations, the reality is that there may not be a necessity to cut rushes. Where a farmer cuts rushes as part of management practice, with the exception of certain designated lands, there are no restrictions on when this is done, enabling the task to be carried out at any time throughout the year once conditions are suitable.