DAFM Confirms Further ACRES Exemption Due To Adverse Weather

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has announced another exemption for farmers in the Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES) due to adverse weather conditions.

In a circular issued to advisors, the department said the exemption would apply to the spring requirement of Environmental Management of Arable Fallow (EMAF) for participants in both tranches of the scheme.

The action requires scheme participants to create an area of bare ground by shallow cultivation on or before March 31 each year.

However, the department said that heavy rain in recent months has “created difficult ground conditions in many areas to allow any cultivation to take place”.


As a result, if ground conditions do not allow farmers in ACRES tranche 1 to comply with the EMAF requirement 9, no shallow cultivation is required this spring.

DAFM said that expert ecological advice warned against extending the date for this measure as this could be harmful for ground nesting bird species such as the lapwing which can produce chicks as early as the second week of April.

The department noted that all other ACRES requirements must be met, including a selected area being left fallow with no machine operations or grazing from March 31 until after July 1.

Advisors were also informed that approval letters for ACRES tranche 2 participants will be issued “in the coming weeks”.

As participants are not obliged to establish an ACRES action before the receipt of an approval letter, those who selected EMAF for tranche 2 are exempt from conducting requirement 9 of the specification this spring.

The department noted that all other requirements must be met by tranche 2 participants, including requirement 10.

DAFM noted that this exemption strictly applies to 2024 only.

Hawthorn Hedgerow


Last Friday (March 22), the department extended the deadline for advisors to upload soil sample results for ACRES tranche 1.

ACRES tranche 1 participants now have time until December 31, 2024 to take samples and upload valid soil sample results or soil sample exemption forms.

DAFM said that adverse weather in recent months has created difficult ground conditions to allow the capturing of suitable soil samples for analysis.

One of the key requirements for applications for tranche 1 participants is the submission of valid soil sample results before May 15, 2024. This has now been extended.

Advisors were reminded that only samples taken on or after January 1, 2022, will be considered valid.

Earlier this month, the department said that the the establishment deadline for new hedgerow and tree planting actions will be extended for ACRES tranche one participants by 12 months.

This deadline was extended because of “current market restraints and the limited supplies of suitable hedgerow and tree plants”.

Last November the requirement for whitethorn planted under ACRES to be of Irish provenance and origin was removed because of “heightened demand for hedgerow plants” which had led to a shortage of native whitethorn.

In cases where participants are “unable to source” adequate quantities of suitable hedgerow and tree plants to fully satisfy their ACRES Tranche 1 commitments, an extension has been granted to March 31, 2025.

The department noted that the extension only applies to: planting a new hedgerow; planting a traditional orchard; planting trees in riparian buffer zones; tree belts for ammonia capture from farmyards and tree planting.

(Source – Agriland – Aisling O Brien – 27/03/2024)

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