The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, expects demand for the Straw Incorporation Measure (SIM) to be “strong” this year, given its success last year.
The minister has based his belief on the “surplus” stocks of straw currently available from last year’s harvest and “very high” fertiliser prices.
In response to a parliamentary question deputy Michael Healy-Rae raised on the measure, he revealed that last year, the DAFM paid over €8m to farmers on c. 35,000ha of straw that they chopped and incorporated.
The Kerry-based representative asked the minister if he would considering remove the capped payment of €100/acre.
He also requested that the minister would ensure that the DAFM would not reduce the payment rate below that amount, “which would help persons who have straw to supply in what would be an oversupplied market”.
In response, minister McConalogue confirmed that there would be no change to rates payable on the list of crops that are eligible under the scheme in 2022.
As it stands, the payment rate is €250/ha for cereal straw – barley, rye, oats and wheat and €150/ha for oilseed rape straw.
Aim and deadline
According to the DAFM, the measure’s objective is to encourage tillage farmers to increase soil organic carbon levels by chopping and incorporating straw from cereal crops.
This, in turn, it stated, will sequester carbon in tillage soils, thereby reducing GHG emissions.
Furthermore, it added that the incorporation of straw would also have a positive impact on soil biology and soil workability. This, it states, will further improve the tillage sector’s environmental sustainability.
The DAFM confirmed that all farmers must apply for the measure before the deadline of May 16th, 2022.
However, farmers can amend their application at any stage up to and including the May 31st deadline for BPS amendments.