Under the new Agri Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES), farmers can expect payment rates of over €1,000/ha for some general actions, according to Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) documents.
A rate of €1,047/ha/year is proposed for the environmental management of arable fallow (up to 5ha); creating a winter bird food plot will be rewarded with €1,000/ha/year (up to 3ha); and a maximum €2,514 can be expected for creating a 0.5ha tree belt for ammonia capture from farmyards.
The ACRES programme will come into effect from January 2023 as part of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), replacing the Green, Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS).
Proposed payment rates are part of the revised CAP Strategic Plan which now needs to be approved by the European Commission.
Results-based actions under the ACRES General approach will be rewarded with a payment that is based on a scorecard.
Assessed fields are given a score out of 10, under which farmers can receive payments of up to €400/ha for the management of low-input grassland, as well as low-input peat grassland.
Scheme participants taking the low-input grassland action will also have the opportunity to apply for a late bonus payment of €50/ha on meadows cut between July 1 and August 31, according to proposals made by the DAFM.
The management of intensive grassland next to a watercourse will be rewarded with €502/ha/year (up to 5ha), while €1.20/m3/year can be received for the low-emission slurry spreading (LESS) action (up to a maximum payment ceiling)
Plots of commonage will receive a set participation payment of €50/ha on the first 20ha, irrespective of result-based scores (after the first 20ha, commonage payments will be based on a scorecard in both the ACRES General and ACRES Co-operation approaches.
Besides the ACRES general approach, the higher-paying ACRES Co-operation approach is open to farmers in eight co-operation project (CP) areas.
Farmers undertaking results-based actions under the co-operation measure on grassland, peatland or scrubland can receive a maximum payment of €400/ha, while farmers already in the Organic Farming Scheme (OFS) can receive €150/ha.
Under the department’s proposals farmers could also be paid to plant trees and hedgerows (€6.21/tree/year up to 300 trees, and €5.29/m/year up to 750m of hedgerow).