Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture has announced plans to launch a pilot payment scheme for local growers to produce protein crops for livestock consumption.

The pilot scheme, which is planned to begin next year, will offer growers £330/ha with eligible crops including peas, beans and sweet lupins.

The rate will result in a margin for protein crops comparable to that for other cereal crops.

Also Read: Following the trail: Where does the soya in your feed come from?

The maximum total area to be included in the pilot will be 1000 ha. Land included in the scheme will also remain eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme.

In 2019, 369,000t of soya was used in feedstuffs manufacturing alone and adding other high-protein animal feeds brings this total to over half a million tonnes.

It’s hoped the scheme will reduce Northern Ireland’s dependence on imported plant protein and will also encourage best practice in crop rotation, pest management and crop diversity.


Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Edwin Poots MLA said: “I intend to introduce for 2021 a protein crop scheme for growing combinable beans, peas and sweet lupins.

“Those crops will create a domestically-produced source of protein for animal feed and provide agronomic benefits within arable rotations.

I intend to introduce it for 2021 on a pilot basis and then refine the approach for subsequent years to maximise the economic and environmental benefits.

“I would encourage all those with an interest to read the proposal document and to forward their views by January 15, 2021.”