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ACRES Scheme 2023-2027
The Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme(ACRES) is an Irish financial support scheme to help farmers reverse biodiversity decline. It has a value of €1.5 billion and has just been launched.
You can apply now by engaging the services of ACRES advisors, a list of which can be found here along with lots of easy-to-understand explanations and advice.
Who are we?
We have over twenty years of experience in this area has helped lots of farmers with both the GLAS scheme and the REPS scheme. We have been approved by the Agricultural department as providers of approved native plants. We keep meticulous records so that we will be able to provide proof of purchase and passport details years later in the event of a late inspection. We have very experienced staff who are willing to help, advise and guide.
What can we help you with?
To encourage the planting of trees on farms where they will have multiple benefits while
offering flexible planting options to suit the holding.
Planting trees on farms can sequester carbon, support biodiversity, help reduce soil erosion and sediment loss, and recover leached nutrients. They also contribute to increasing water retention, provide shelter and shade for livestock when mature, and enhance the visual appearance of the farm landscape. This action encompasses planting in rows, groups or parkland, which can have multiple benefits on farms when strategically located.
1. Planting of trees must be completed by 31 March 2024.
2. Select the LPIS parcel(s) for the tree planting action by drawing one point on the map. Then enter the number of trees that will be planted on the chosen parcel(s) in the quantity box provided.
3. The minimum number of trees to be delivered is 100 where this action is taken as a priority action and 10 where it is taken as a general action. The maximum number that can be delivered is 300 trees.
4. Do not plant in the vicinity of overhead wires, within 20m of railway lines and within 60m of a neighbouring dwelling house. For the clearance distance for overhead lines.
5. Plants must be of Irish Origin or Irish Provenance and purchased from DAFM registered professional operators.
6. All trees purchased for this action must have an accompanying plant passport and participants must ensure that they retain the plant passport(s) for the duration of the contract.
7. Purchased trees must be a minimum of 60cm in height.
8. Plant at least 3 native tree species, of which not more than 25 per cent of trees are planted to be the Scots pine.
9. Maintain at least 4-metre spacing between each tree.
10. Fit each tree (except Scots Pine) with a staked tree shelter, minimum 75cm in height and fence trees off with appropriate fencing.
11. If using individual barbed protectors for parkland or rows, the staked tree shelter and fencing are not required.
12. Grass and competing vegetation must be controlled around the trees annually. It will be necessary, from time to time, to lift the tree shelter and remove any weeds/grass that may be growing within the shelter.
13. Failed or dead trees must be replaced during the next dormant season.
Good quality hedgerows provide multiple benefits including pollen and nectar for bees, shelter and shade for livestock, improved biosecurity, water quality protection, support for biodiversity on farms and many other benefits while increasing the visual aspect of the countryside. This type of gardening is easy to grow and cultivate, simple and practical.
1. Plant by 31 March 2024, min continuous length 10m & max length for payment is 750m.
2. Must be marked on the map, & not be placed against an existing hedgerow, stone wall or under treeline/woodland.
3. The new hedge must consist of at least 5/metre in a double staggered row with a mix of at least 3 species from the Hedgerow species. No one
species must make up more than 85% of the total.
4. Plants must be of Irish Origin or Irish Provenance & from DAFM-registered professional operators.
5. All plants have plant passports, retained for the duration of the contract.
6. All newly planted hedgerows in a grass or tillage field must be protected from livestock.
7. Grass & weeds are controlled annually.
8. Failed or dead plants must be replaced in the following planting season.
Hedgerows are the dominant habitat on most Irish farms; however, the quality of many hedgerows is poor. Good quality hedgerows provide multiple benefits, including crop protection, shelter and shade for livestock, improved biosecurity, water quality protection, carbon sequestration, pollen and nectar for bees and other pollinators, nesting, chick rearing and feeding resources for birds, and important foraging habitat for mammals including all Irish bats.
Hedgerows are critically important as wildlife habitats and act as vital nature corridors connecting habitats throughout the landscape.
A mix of escaped hedgerows (side trimmed only) and topped hedgerows over 1.8 metres in height, with a wide base and some thorn trees left to mature along the hedgerow, will have the greatest benefit for biodiversity.
There is no requirement to cut hedgerows in ACRES parcels. However, if they are being managed by cutting during the course of the contract, the following rules apply:
If existing hedges are greater than 1.8 metres in height, cutting/trimming is permitted once they are not cut below 1.8 metres from ground level (or top of bank where applicable). If existing hedges are less than 1.8 metres, do NOT cut or trim. The only exceptions are roadside hedgerows, hedgerows on external farm boundaries, newly established hedgerows (less than 10 years old), hedgerows that were recently coppiced or laid, and hedgerows located in Breeding Wader hotspot mapped areas.
NATIVE FRUIT TREES
To support biodiversity and help ensure the survival of traditional Irish apple varieties.
While apple trees have been grown in Ireland for many centuries, the native genetic pool has been significantly altered to incorporate a number of modern varieties. This measure endeavours to conserve the authenticity of traditional apple tree varieties while also sustaining their heritage, by only growing trees that were once common to Irish soils.
1. Create an orchard of at least 0.05 hectares by planting 10 traditional fruit trees. Trees can only be planted during the dormant season (October to March).
2. The location of the orchard must be identified on the LPIS parcel selected and marked on the map submitted.
3. The orchard must be fenced off from livestock with a fit-for-purpose permanent fence. However, grazing inside the fence with sheep is permitted provided that no damage is caused to the trees. If damage is being caused by rabbits/hares, measures to prevent further damage must be taken by the erection of a rabbit-proof fence or tree guards.
4. Trees must be spaced at least 5 metres apart.
5. Plants must be purchased from DAFM registered professional operators.
6. All trees purchased for this action must have an accompanying plant passport which must be retained for the duration of the contract.
7. Pesticides are not permitted except for the spot treatment of noxious and invasive weeds.
8. Grass and other competing vegetation must be controlled around the trees until they become established.
9. Failed or dead trees must be replaced during the next planting season.
planting trees in riparian buffer zone
To protect water quality by enhancing nutrient uptake while also supporting biodiversity. In some situations, new riparian buffer zones will benefit from the planting of appropriate tree species to enhance erosion interception and provide improved bank stability. Tree roots and canopy will intercept subsurface and aerial pollutant pathways.
1. Select a Riparian buffer zone where tree planting will benefit water quality.
2. Select the Riparian buffer zone(s) for planting trees by drawing one point on the zone. Then enter the number of trees that will be planted in the chosen zone(s) in the quantity box provided.
3. The minimum number of trees to be delivered is 10 and the maximum number that can be delivered is 200.
4. Planting of trees must be completed by 31 March 2024.
5. Plants must be of Irish Origin or Irish Provenance and purchased from DAFM-registered professional operators.
6. All plants purchased for this action must have an accompanying plant passport and participants must ensure that they retain the plant passport(s) for the duration of the contract.
7. Purchased trees must be a minimum of 60cm in height.
8. Plant at least 2 species from the list available on their website.
9. Do not plant in the vicinity of overhead wires, within 20m of railway lines and within 60m of a neighbouring dwelling house. for clearance distance for overhead lines.
10. Fit each tree with a staked tree shelter, a minimum of 75cm in height, and protect trees from livestock damage with appropriate fencing (livestock are not permitted to access a Riparian Buffer Zone – Grassland or Arable).
11. Grass and competing vegetation must be controlled around the trees annually. It will be necessary, from time to time, to lift the tree shelter and remove any weeds/grass that may be growing within the shelter.
12. Failed or dead trees must be replaced during the next dormant season.
13. There must not be more than 200 trees planted per hectare. For example, in 0.1 hectares, the maximum number of trees to be planted is 20. The minimum spacing between trees is 2 metres.
tree belts for ammonia capture from farmyards
To capture ammonia emissions from livestock housing or uncovered slurry stores by directing the emissions into the tree belt and through the main canopy.
1. This action can be delivered on a full or split LPIS parcel. Where the action is selected on a split LPIS, it must be digitised and marked on the map submitted.
2. The minimum depth of the shelterbelt is 30 metres. The minimum parcel area is 0.18 hectares and the maximum area for payment is 0.5 hectares (which includes the area of the tree belt planted and the perimeter fencing).
3. Planting of the tree belt must be completed by 31 March 2024.
4. The tree belt must be fenced off to protect from livestock at least 1.5 metres out from the perimeter trees.
5. Purchased trees must be a minimum of 60cm in height and planted at a minimum 3-metre spacing between each tree.
6. A minimum number of trees is 1 per 10m2 of tree belt area.
7. Plants must be of Irish Origin or Irish Provenance and purchased from DAFM-registered professional operators.
8. All trees purchased for this action must have an accompanying plant passport and participants must ensure that they retain the plant passport(s) for the duration of the contract.
9. Plant at least 3 species from the table provided on their website. below of which not more than 25 per cent of the total trees planted be Scots pine.
10. Grass and competing vegetation must be controlled around the trees annually as required.
11. Planting cannot take place within the vicinity of overhead wires, within 20 m of the railway line(s) or within 60 m of neighbouring dwellings. The maximum distance from the livestock shed to the tree belt is 50m.
Additional ACRES Scheme Information
Advisors can check the information by clicking HERE.
We’ve done a summary to clear out some of your doubts about the scheme with relevant links and contact information attached.
There are two options you can apply to. Below you have the basic information of each:
The ACRES General approach is open to all categories of active farmers eligible in the defined mapped area for ACRES General.
The ACRES Co-operation approach is open to all categories of active farmers eligible in the defined mapped area for ACRES Co-operation Project (CP) zones (shown as colour-coded zones on the map below).
For both General and Co-operation, it requires preparation of a Farm Sustainability Plan to be completed and submitted by an ACRES advisor.
Farmers can check in this LINK under the ‘ACRES Access Agreement’ button or by texting the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on 50124 with the message ‘DAFM ACRES’ followed by their herd number.
There are different zones and teams for each one of them. See the map and contacts below:
- Be over 18 years old on the date of submission of the application;
- Be the holder of an active business identity. Herd ‘owner’ status is required.
- Have all lands farmed declared in the applicant’s name on the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS).
- Have submitted a valid BPS(Basic Payment Scheme Opens) 2021 application. See more information HERE.
All lands brought into the scheme must be declared in the applicant’s 2022 BPS and declared on the applicant’s Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) scheme application for all subsequent years of participation. See more information HERE.
You can only have one government funding. In case you are participating in other environmental schemes, you can apply for the ACRES but if approved, you may have payments adjusted in either scheme to ensure no double funding takes place.
If you have any doubt about that, you can get in contact with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
rates of payment
- ACRES General offers a maximum of €7,311 a year. The level of payment a farmer may achieve will be determined by the payment rates for the actions selected and undertaken satisfactorily.
- Co-operation offers a maximum of €10,500 a year with a maximum results-based payment of €7,000 with an extra non-productive investment and landscape maximum of €3,500. The level of payment will be determined by results-based scorecards, non-productive investments, and landscape actions, which will be designed for land-types and region.
contact us and we'll be happy to help
Phone Number: 091 776 492