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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Eco-Scheme: What you need to know about AP6 – Planting a break crop

In this news article, That’s Farming, takes a look at planting a break crop, also known as AP7, in the DAFM’s new Eco-Scheme, which we previewed in this news article.

Planting a break crop is classified as agricultural practice seven (AP7) in the new Eco-Scheme, a measure which could carry a payment rate of circa €60-€65/ha, subject to farmer uptake.

The action, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, is designed to promote the planting of a break crop as a more environmentally friendly production system.

A DAFM spokesperson outlined that a diverse mix of crops in a rotation reduces disease burden and is beneficial for the soil, and is a risk management tool.

“A diverse rotation also increases nutrient use efficiency as underlying diseases related to continuous cereals are reduced, allowing crops to reach a higher yield for a given level of fertiliser input. Cereal yields after break crops are also typically higher,” the spokesperson added.


If farmers opt for AP7, they commit to planting a break crop (beans, peas, oilseed rape or oats or any combination of these crops) on at least 20% of an arable area.

To qualify, applicants must have planted more than 50% of their 2023 BISS land area as eligible arable crops.

Moreover, at least 20% of the arable area of the holding must be planted with a prescribed break crop of either oilseed rape, oats, peas and beans or a combination of two or more of these crops between October 1st, 2022, and up to July 15th, 2023.

In the scheme’s terms and conditions, the DAFM has outlined that a farmer can meet the 20% requirement by planting one break crop or by planting a combination of the prescribed break crops.

Inspections and paperwork

The DAFM may carry out inspections through the AMS – Area Monitoring System, ground inspections and/or by examining seed receipts/invoices.

In the case where farmers commit to this action, they must retain receipts for on-the-spot inspections.

All such paperwork must be:

  • Legible;
  • The original version;
  • On headed paper.

Receipts must include the following:

  • Supplier’s name and address;
  • Date of sale;
  • Applicant’s details – name and address;
  • Quantity of break crop seed mix purchased (in kgs).
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