A pilot payment scheme for protein crops will be introduced in Northern Ireland, the devolved government has announced.
The scheme, to be rolled out for both the 2021 and 2022 scheme years, will have a payment rate set at £330 per hectare.
It will focus on growing combinable beans, peas and sweet lupins, NI's agriculture minister Gordon Lyons confirmed.
“Those crops will create a domestically produced source of protein for animal feed and provide agronomic benefits within arable rotations," he said.
“I would encourage everyone to consider the opportunities and benefits this scheme provides, not only to boost farm incomes but also the associated agronomic and environmental benefits.”
The total area eligible for payment will be capped at 1,000ha. If more can be determined as eligible, a linear scaleback will be applied to the determined area to reduce it to 1,000ha. Payment will be made on the scaled back area.
The minimum area claimed must be at least 0.3ha and applicants may only claim on land planted in protein crops.
Areas of protein crops sown in a mixture with cereals or other crops will not be eligible for the scheme and protein crops declared under the scheme must not be harvested until after 31 July 2021.
The scheme will be reviewed for subsequent years, Mr Lyons said.