The farmer-funded research & innovation body, AgriSearch, has reported that its GrassCheck project has once again delivered significant benefits to NI farmers during the 2018 grazing season. In particular, this year’s data was used by DAERA to help make the case for an increase in the rate of advance CAP payments due to adverse weather events in 2018.

DAERA recently announced that the rate of advance CAP payments for 2018 would increase from 50% to 70% of claim value.

Summing up the value of GrassCheck as the popular GrassCheck bulletins conclude for the year, AgriSearch’s General Manager, Jason Rankin commented, “GrassCheck is AgriSearch’s longest running programme and has been consistently delivering value for our farmers.  It is assisting them with their grassland management and helping to inform policy.  For example, the information GrassCheck produced led to £4.5M in weather aid in 2002 and £1M in fodder aid in 2013. Now in 2018 data from the project has contributed to CAP payments reaching farmers two months ahead of time.”

 

2018 GrassCheck beef and dairy farmers pictured with AgriSearch General Manager Jason Rankin (far right) during a training day at Hillsborough Knowledge Transfer Centre

48 dairy, beef and sheep pilot farmers contribute to the work on the project by measuring grass each week in all kinds of weathers. “I’d like to thank our farmers for their support,” continued Jason Rankin. “This certainly was a grass growing year for the record books.”