Many farmers have watercourses - these can earn great money in GLAS. If identified on the GLAS online planning system as High Status watercourses, they will be given priority access to GLAS as Tier 1 status.
Where identified as Vulnerable Water, this gives priority access with Tier 2 status.
In both these cases farmers must fence all watercourses along grass fields on the farm 1.5 m from the top of the bank and are well paid for it at €1.50 per metre.
This is also an option for any farmer with watercourses. A farmer with 1,000 metres of watercourses will get €1,500 each year for five years. If the farmer has fields both sides of the watercourse, the payment is doubled to €3,000 for fencing both banks.
There is no maximum payment limit for this option.
Permanent stakes and wire must be used but there is no specification other than it must be fit for purpose for the stock on the farm.
Unlike the previous agri-environment scheme AEOS, payment in received in GLAS does not depend on the price paid for the fencing and indeed fencing may already be in place.
This is a good option for any farmer with a watercourse. It is a very useful measure to future-proof intensive grassland farms against challenges of improving water quality nationally.
Farmers fencing watercourses more than 1.5m from the top of the bank can earn huge money in GLAS.
Land along watercourses can earn €1,200 per hectare per year for five years
Riparian Margins can vary from three metres to 30m out from the back of the river.
A 30m margin along 333m of watercourses makes one hectare.
There is no maximum payment limit for this option. The margin must be cut at least once per year after August 15 and offtakes are allowed.
This will appeal to farmers as the land will be maintained in good agricultural condition during the five years.
Riparian Margins do not have to be undertaken on all watercourses.
A farmer can choose to do a margin on just one of his fields with watercourses, leaving other watercourses with no margin.
This flexibility makes this option very attractive.
Low Input Permanent Pasture
Other changes to GLAS II include a reduction in the maximum of Low Input Permanent Pasture (LIPP) to five hectares. To replace LIPP, farmers with watercourses could undertake a Riparian Margin worth four times the amount of money on that area.
There is also a reduction in the maximum length of Coppicing to 750m.
New hedgerows are not available in GLAS II. Remember the grove of 450 trees worth €405 can be planted in a shelter belt. Traditional Orchards are not covered by GLAS II.
Catherine Keena is a Teagasc countrywide management specialist