GAEC 7 Crop Diversification Exemption Announced for 2024

Mar 15, 2024 | Climate Change, Farm Viability

Under Conditionality (the baseline requirements of farmers in receipt of CAP payments), Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC) 7 requires tillage farmers to incorporate crop rotation and crop diversification into their farm management practices to preserve soil potential. The crop rotation element of this standard requires a change of arable crop once in a four-year cycle.

However, very difficult weather conditions in 2023 caused severe disruption for tillage farms, both at harvest time and during the autumn sowing period. This situation has not improved so far in early 2024. For this reason the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has announced an exemption to the crop diversification element of GAEC 7 for 2024.

At the announcement of the exemption, Minister Charlie McConalogue said “the adverse weather and seed shortage has restricted the crop options for tillage farmers this Spring. Met Eireann data shows that most rainfall stations experienced more than 150% of the average rainfall in the July to December 2023 period. I’m satisfied that these weather events allow for the use of the force majeure option within the Regulations and consequently farmers will be exempted for 2024 from the Crop Diversification obligations under GAEC 7, commonly known as the two/three crop rule.

Tillage farmers will still be required to meet their obligations in relation to crop rotation by 2026 but this derogation will give farmers the flexibility to grow the number of crops suitable to their individual circumstances. Concluding, the Minister McConalogue said “this exemption will allow farmers pick the crops that best suit their circumstances, taking account of the time of sowing, market returns and seed availability. It is critical that we provide the maximum support to tillage farmers and this derogation is in addition to the significant financial supports provided in 2023.

The Minister added that “we must take account of the practical realities of farming to ensure that tillage farmers can continue to grow crops and contribute to the agricultural and local economy.

For more information on Conditionality and GAEC 7, click here.

Related Articles