Red Clover Silage Measure announced
Press Release 01 April 2022
Ministers McConalogue, Hackett and Heydon launch Red Clover Silage Measure
Following on from the package of measures announced last week to provide support to Irish farmers, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, T.D., and the Ministers of State , Senator Pippa Hackett and Martin Heydon TD, today launched another element of the package, the Red Clover Silage Measure.
Launching the measure, Minister McConalogue said, “I am delighted to announce the launch of the Red Clover Silage Measure, as part of our response to the challenges currently facing the agriculture sector. The ability of these swards to produce high protein, high energy feed should allow farmers to lower their concentrate feed bills next winter while at the same time reducing the need for expensive chemical nitrogen.”
The Minister continued by saying, “The benefits of red clover silage swards are hard to ignore. Given the crop is most suited to cutting for silage rather than grazing, establishing a red clover sward is definitely an option worth considering by anyone targeting silage ground for reseeding this year”.
Subject to seed availability and farmer demand, it is anticipated that this measure will establish approximately 4,000ha of red clover silage swards. The Measure will be delivered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in co-operation with participating Agri-retailers and Co-operatives throughout the country.
Minister of State Pippa Hackett, who has responsibility for Land Use and Biodiversity also welcomed the measure. She said, “Red clover silage swards have been traditionally considered most suited to organic farming systems, however in recent years there has been a growing interest in red clover silage swards across all farming systems as farmers realise the potential this crop offers from both an economic and an environmental perspective. This Red Clover Silage Measure, and the Multi Species Sward Measure announced last week, will both provide opportunities for farmers to improve the environmental and economic sustainability of their production systems.”
Minister of State Martin Heydon who has responsibility for research and innovation said: “Research on red clover silage swards confirms the ability of red clover to convert atmospheric nitrogen into a plant usable form producing high yielding, highly palatable silage swards delivering up to 14t/DM per hectare. Red clover swards also produce silage with higher crude protein levels of between 16% and 20% allowing for reduced concentrate inputs. Red clover swards can lead to higher intakes and increased liveweight gains or increased milk and protein yields. Every farm will have a different set of circumstances to consider but red clover is certainly an option worth examining.”
How does this benefit farmers?
This Measure will provide a financial contribution to participating Co-op/Agri-merchants to offset part of the cost that farmers will incur in the purchase of the red clover silage seed mixture. Upon fully documented verification of eligibility, a payment contribution rate of €50 per 12kg bag of red clover silage seed mixture will apply to approved applicants purchasing the dedicated red clover silage seed mixture. The mixture must include 4kg of Red Clover in each 12kg pack. The balance of the seed mixture must contain either Perennial Ryegrass or Hybrid Ryegrasses and may contain some White Clover.
The Measure will cover seed purchased from the farmer’s date of approval until 31st August 2022.
This Measure is being introduced by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to promote environmentally sustainable methods of farming, which will have a positive impact on climate, biodiversity and water quality. The measure will also have a positive impact on economic sustainability where farmers have dedicated silage swards.
Research around red clover silage swards has confirmed red clover’s ability to convert atmospheric nitrogen into a plant usable form producing high yielding silage swards with annual yields of up to 14t/DM per hectare, and crude protein levels between 16% and 20%. Red clover silage can lead to higher intakes and increased liveweight gains or increased milk and protein yields. This can reduce the need for expensive concentrates. Due to their reduced dependence on chemical nitrogen, red clover silage swards can also have a positive impact on climate, biodiversity, and water quality, as well as further benefitting on-farm production costs.
Subject to farmer demand and seed availability, it is anticipated that this Measure will establish approximately 4,000ha of red clover silage swards.
How will the programme operate?
Perspective applicants should read the Terms and Conditions published online.
The farmer or his/her advisor will sign up to participate in the Red Clover Silage Measure through www.agfood.ie
The applicant/advisor will select the LPIS parcels where the red clover silage seed mixture will be planted.
They will then indicate what quantity of seed they wish to purchase.
Successful applicants will receive an Approval Letter from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. This will state the approved quantity of seed that may be purchased under the Measure.
At time of purchase the farmer will bring their Approval letter to an approved Co-op/Agri-retailer where they will purchase the red clover silage seed mixture. This form will be signed and stamped by the Co-op/Agri retailer and the farmer indicating the amount of seed actually purchased.
The Co-op/Agri-retailer will apply to the Department for re-imbursement of the discount applied to the price of the red clover silage seed mix sold to approved farmers under the Measure.
Payment will be made directly to the Agri-retailer/Co-op, based on returns they submit to the Department.
Farmers wishing to apply for the Red Clover Silage Measure should apply through www.agfood.ie by the closing date of 14th April 2022.