In this news article, That’s Farming takes a look at Extensive Livestock Production, also known as AP2, in the DAFM’s new Eco-Scheme, which we previewed in this news article.
AP2 (Agricultural Practice 2) – extensive livestock production – in the DAFM’s new Eco-Scheme, aims to promote traditional grassland farming practices at extensive animal stocking rates.
According to the DAFM, this measure will encourage farmers to maintain “environmentally friendly” operations and farming systems.
- Standard option: According to the DAFM, the stocking density on the holding will be based on 2022 stocking rate data (unless a farmer chooses to do otherwise – see note below). It will have to be equal to or greater than 0.10 livestock units per eligible forage hectare (LU per ha) (similar to ANC requirement – equivalent to 1 ewe to the hectare) and equal to or less than 4 livestock units per eligible forage hectare;
- Enhanced option: Where the farmer has a maximum stocking rate of less than 1.2 livestock units per eligible forage hectare and equal to or greater than 0.10 livestock units per eligible forage hectare, this will count as two practices for the Eco-Scheme.
The DAFM, has set out in its terms and conditions, that if an applicant selects AP2, they must also maintain their stocking level below 1.4 LU/ha or 1.2 LU/ha for 28 consecutive weeks.
Moreover, the DAFM states that in addition to meeting the 28 consecutive week retention period set out above, applicants must also maintain an annual average stocking rate calculated over the 12 months of the year selected.
In the case where a farmer fails to meet the above conditions, the DAFM will deem them as ineligible for payment.
Speaking as part of the DAFM’s new CAP schemes 2023-2027 webinar on Tuesday, March 7th, 2023, David Buckley of the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine’s Direct Payments Division outlined:
“Farmers can alternatively use their current year’s stocking rate.”
“If they do, it means that the DAFM will not be in a position to process that farmer’s payment until February or March 2024.”
“This is because we have to wait the full year to determine that the farmer has met the commitment for the entire 12 months of 2023.”
If the option to use the current year’s stocking rate is chosen for the Eco-Scheme in 2023, the farmer will have to use the current year (i.e., the year of the Eco-Scheme application) for all future years of Eco-Scheme participation if they select this agricultural practice again.
He continued: “It is important to note that for a farmer to see this action as part of their Eco-Scheme application, they must have greater than 50% grassland.”
“Therefore, for example, it is not a case, if I am a farmer with 100ha, with 99ha in arable and 1ha of grassland, that I can come into this action,” he concluded.
Read about AP1 – Space for Nature in a previous farming news article on That’s Farming via this link.