The Agroforestry option of the Afforestation Scheme provides financial support to grow trees on land being used for farming. The system gives land owners the flexibility to graze and even cut silage and hay while growing trees for timber in the same field.
How to qualify
To apply for the Afforestation Scheme you must be over 18 years of age and must hold a Personal Public Service Number. Companies must provide their company registration details. You must be the owner, leaseholder or joint manager of the land at the time of the application. Read the terms of the scheme
to see the limited exemptions to this rule.
Agroforestry can involve pasture, grazing, silage and hay. Other systems may be considered on a site to site basis as long as the tree stocking rate is between 400-1000 trees per hectare, it is at least 0.5 of a hectare and at least 20 meters wide.
The trees will be thinned out in time reducing numbers to between 160-250 trees per hectare. This will allow enough light to filter through the canopy enabling continued grass growth.
Trees must be protected against browsing animals with tree shelters, fencing or both. When silage and hay are being produced, farmers must ensure that appropriate machinery is used to avoid damage to the trees.
These are some of the benefits of agroforestery:
provides renewable energy, reducing the consumption of fossil fuels
can produce veneer quality timber
improves land drainage
prevents nutrient runoff and reduces sedimentation of nearby water courses
enhances animal welfare
improves biodiversity and habitats
can enhance the landscape
Rates of payment
Grant rates and payment structure are similar to the Afforestation Scheme 2014-2020
, with grant and premium category (GPC) 11 applying. Premiums will be paid for 5 years and will cover the cost of maintenance.
Once land is converted to agroforestry, it will be classified as forest land and the provisions of forest legislation will apply.