IFA National Grain Chairman Kieran McEvoy said a more structured, collaborative approach will be needed, with input from all stakeholders, if the tillage area is to reach the target of 400,000ha by 2030.
He was speaking after the inaugural meeting of the Tillage Vision Group last Thursday, which was established by the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue.
“The 2023 cropping year was always set to be financially challenging for tillage farming, with high input costs and declining global grain prices. But changes in the Nitrates rules have completely disrupted the land market, leading to very significant increases in land rental costs. This has added further pressure on the long-term viability of many growers. It is now almost certain that the area under tillage will decline this year, when it needs to be going the other way,” said Kieran McEvoy.
“It’s essential that the Tillage Vision Group meets regularly over the coming weeks and months to identify and construct ambitious proposals to prevent the tillage sector lapsing back to the dangerously small area of 2017/2018,” he said.
“The Tillage Incentive Scheme, Protein – Aid, and the Straw Incorporation Measure have enabled a much-needed recovery in the sector since 2021, but more will be needed to reach the target set down,” he concluded.