Flexibility on Three Crop Rule a Pragmatic Decision

IFA Grain Chairman Mark Browne has welcomed assurances by EU Commissioner Phil Hogan and the Department of Agriculture that growers unable to adhere to crop diversification rules due to poor weather this year will have the required flexibility to establish the maximum amount of arable crops.

Mark Browne said, “Providing flexibility on the three-crop rule is a pragmatic move, recognising the severe difficulties faced by growers in what has proved to be one of the latest springs in living memory.”

EU Commissioner Phil Hogan confirmed at an IFA meeting on Friday that he has political agreement to suspend the three-crop rule for Ireland. Today, the Department of Agriculture issued advice to farmers that where alternative crop options are not available to allow farmers to be compliant with Crop Diversification rules, growers can make crop choices that best suit their current situation, even if this leaves them non-compliant.

The IFA Grain Chairman acknowledged the input and efforts of Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and Minister of State Andrew Doyle in achieving a derogation from the Commission.

He said the very late and unusually cold and wet spring has severely delayed the establishment of spring crops, as much of the spring ploughing is yet to be done particularly across the larger tillage counties. The window of opportunity for sowing spring beans, oats and wheat has passed in areas. Late sowing of oats and wheat, particularly in the peripheral regions, is a recipe for disaster as we experienced in the harvest of 2016.

“It is in Ireland’s overall interest to see the maximum amount of native cereal is sown given the depletion of grain and straw stocks and this decision will allow growers to maximise the sown area,” Mark Browne concluded.

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