‘Three-crop rule’ near impossible to adhere to this winter

UFU president Barclay Bell
UFU president Barclay Bell

The Ulster Farmers’ Union says the relentless wet weather has made the ‘three crop rule’ for arable and horticultural growers particularly challenging, following a prolonged wet winter.

UFU president Barclay Bell, pictured, says the Union would like to ask DAERA to consider the real challenges facing arable and horticulture growers while trying to meet the ‘three-crop rule’.

He added: “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.”

The three-crop rule applies to farms with over 30 hectares of arable land. Farmers have to sow three crops on the farm and to meet greening rules.

The UFU president says: “In many areas, ploughing hasn’t even started and it could be mid-April before any drilling is carried out. This issue needs to be addressed urgently to allow farmers to make suitable arrangements. We are now calling on DAERA to look at the possibility of seeking a derogation for this year.”

The UFU will continue to monitor the situation.