Farmers can withdraw from the Straw Incorporation Measure (SIM) if they have insufficient straw for fodder and bedding, a Fine Gael Senator has stated.
Senator Tim Lombard, Fine Gael Spokesperson on Agriculture, Food, Forestry and the Marine said that some farmers who are currently chopping straw are worried that they won’t have enough for fodder and bedding due to the substantial rainfall in July.
“As per the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine terms and conditions of the scheme, “in justified cases, withdrawals and reductions may be considered after the 22nd of June deadline if the applicant has not been notified of an issue with their application or notified of an inspection,” Senator Lombard explained.
“It is important that farmers are aware that the need to keep straw for fodder is a duly justified case for withdrawal or reduction from the SIM. They can submit an amendment on Ag.Food.ie stating that the straw is required for feed.
“While the SIM has been beneficial to farmers in previous years, the heavy rain we’ve had this summer has changed the situation for some who may need to decrease the amount of straw they chop and incorporate. Farmers I’ve spoken to tell me that yields are back as much as three round bales per acre. As a result, they may need to keep more parcels for feed rather than chopping.
“All standard withdrawals from the scheme had a deadline in June and approvals for the scheme were issued in early July, both occurring before the bad weather hit. Now some farmers may be feeling under pressure to reach the targets they originally applied for.
“This year’s applicant figures greatly exceed the target of incorporating 55,000 ha of straw set out for 2030 in the Government’s Climate Action Plan, so there is room for those who need to withdraw to do so while staying within our climate targets.
“When applications were first taken, the programme was oversubscribed and increased funding was introduced to accommodate those who wished to participate. If a farmer’s circumstances have changed, then accommodations should also be made readily available to allow them to withdraw from the scheme.
“With low yields, farmers may need the option to keep straw for themselves or sell it which will benefit others who need fodder.
“From conversations I’ve had with farmers in recent days, many are not aware of the exception for duly justified cases. It’s important that this information is made clear to ensure we don’t find ourselves in a situation where thousands of hectares are chopped, yet we don’t have sufficient supply of straw for fodder next winter.”