I am acutely aware of the difficulties encountered by the tillage sector primarily because of poor weather conditions over the last twelve months. As a result of these conditions it is expected that levels of both grain and straw will be less than the 2019 output but I welcome the recent predictions that the harvest will not be as bad as earlier anticipated.
There are many supports available to the tillage sector from my Department with specific measures in the GLAS scheme e.g. arable margins, cover crops and an exemption from the 3-crop rule for specialist malting barley growers. Other supports put in place in recent times include:
- The 2017 Agriculture Cashflow Support Loan Scheme
- The Brexit Loan Scheme
- The Coupled Protein Aid Scheme
- The 2018 fodder production incentive measure for tillage farmers
- The Tillage Capital Investment Scheme (TCIS) under TAMS
- Exemption to the crop diversification requirements as part of Greening for 2020 on a case-by-case basis.
My Department also provides an independent free crop variety evaluation programme and a seed certification scheme in support of the sector.
These schemes and supports provide significant investment in tillage and underpin the Governments ongoing commitment to this important area.
Last July, my predecessor launched the Tillage Industry Ireland report into the Irish Tillage Sector. My Department will examine the content of the report and engage with Stakeholders as appropriate.
In the meantime, I will continue to engage with stakeholders on the key issues affecting the Tillage Sector.