Some 70,000ha of traditional hay meadows conserved under the Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environmental Scheme (GLAS) can be cut from Friday 1 July.

The date also permits cutting of meadows selected under the Results-Based Environment Agri Pilot (REAP).

The focus is to conserve these areas as hay, but where hay cannot be made due to unsuitable weather or other reasonable factors, then farmers are permitted to make silage.

To utilise this option, grass must be turned at least twice before collecting. The rationale behind this requirement is that it gives seeds the best chance of dispersing and helps ensure diversity in the sward is maintained.

REAP hay meadows

Farmers participating in REAP also have the option of voluntarily opting to delay cutting of hay meadows until 1 July at the earliest.

A top-up payment of €50/ha is available for farmers who select this measure.

Meadows must be cut before the end of August and farmers who did not select the measure in 2021 have the option of selecting the measure in 2022.

Take note to contact your adviser, as geotagged photos will be required.

LIPP parcels

The largest measure selected under GLAS is Low-Input Permanent Pasture (LIPP) and in the region of 280,000ha is farmed in this manner.

Friday 1 July also marks the date from which topping of these pastures is permitted. Along with spot-spraying or weed wiping/licking, it is one of the permitted options for controlling rushes.