Call for ‘three crop’ derogation

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DAERA has asked that a request for a derogation of the ‘three crop rule’ in 2018 be considered by the EU Commission as a ‘matter of urgency’.

Last week the Ulster Farmers’ Union warned that weather conditions over the past year have left it almost impossible for arable and horticultural growers to adhere to the EU rule.

Many farmers were unable to plant winter crops due to poor field conditions and delayed planting of spring crops will leave them with very few options.

It is being reported that the Republic of Ireland has already won an exemption.

Yesterday a DAERA spokesperson said the Department recognises that extreme weather during the summer of 2017 which resulted in significant waterlogging of agricultural land coupled with sustained rainfall and frost and snow during the winter of 2017/18, has meant that arable farmers in Northern Ireland, through no fault of their own, have been unable to plant the normal range of crops that would enable them to meet the Crop Diversification requirement under the Greening Scheme.

He added: “The Department has compiled evidence to support a case for a derogation from the three crop requirement in Northern Ireland in 2018 due to the adverse weather conditions and has written to DEFRA asking that they submit it as a formal request to the EU Commission on our behalf as a matter of urgency. The decision on this matter ultimately rests with the Commission.”