Farmers interested in applying for the recently announced Multi Species Sward Measure (MSSM) have a short window to confirm their decision and get an application submitted by the closing date of Monday 4 April.

The scheme which opened for applications on 25 March and has €2m in funding allocated is targeting the establishment of 12,000ha of multi species swards (MSS).

There is no payment made directly to the farmer, instead the measure will work by the Department of Agriculture providing a financial contribution of €50 per 12kg bag of MSS seed to participating co-ops/agri-retailers to offset part of the cost of purchasing.

The MSS must be sown at a recommended seeding rate of 30kg/ha or the equivalent of one 12kg bag of seed per acre.

Farmers must commit to sowing a minimum of 1ha to be deemed eligible while the maximum area allowable is 20ha.

Applicants cannot select their own seed mixture and must abide by the recommendation outlined in Table 1.

The Department states that all varieties of perennial ryegrasses included in the multi species sward mixture must be listed on the Department of Agriculture Grass and White Clover Recommended List varieties for Ireland 2021/22.

The approved applicant must retain at least one of the official seed labels from the packs showing the composition of the multi-species sward mixture.

The Department states that in the event of the measure being oversubscribed then they may implement a reduction coefficient to the quantities of seed approved as they deem appropriate.

Commonage lands or lands under Natura 2000 or Natural Heritage Area designation are not eligible for the measure. Farmers who are participating in the Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) or Results-Based Environment Agri Pilot (REAP) can apply but obviously lands under measures in these schemes will not be eligible in the MSS measure.

Scheme workings

The following is a summary of the main aspects of applying and participating in the scheme.

  • Applications must be submitted through the Department of Agriculture’s online portal. Applications can be submitted by the applicant or their adviser.
  • Successful applicants will receive a letter of approval which must be provided to an approved co-op/merchant. To receive approval, co-ops/merchants must submit an Expression of Interest form to the Department. A list of participating co-op/ agri retailers is published on and will be updated as appropriate.
  • Seed cannot be purchased before approval is granted and the deadline for purchasing is 31 August 2022. Seed can only be purchased in one transaction and at one location.
  • A sales declaration form must be completed and signed by both parties at the point of sale. The co-op /merchant will then apply to the Department for remuneration.
  • The MSS must be grown on lands declared on the approved applicant’s 2022 Basic Payment Scheme application. The crop must be established by 30 September 2022.
  • An approved applicant may change their mind and purchase less seed than approved. In such a scenario, the discount will be based on the number of 12kg bags actually purchased. Likewise, they can purchase a higher quantity than what has been approved, but the financial contribution will only apply to the amount approved. Part bags of seeds cannot be purchased.
  • In the case of a registered farm partnership, the application must be made in the same name as the partnership’s BPS application for 2021 / 2022. Each application will be treated as a single entity and the maximum area of 20ha will apply.
  • In submitting a MSSM application, applicants agree to permit officials of the Department to carry out on-farm inspections at any reasonable time and without prejudice to public liability. Every on-the-spot inspection will be the subject of a report.