Tender: DAFM Area Monitoring System Service

March 2022

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine invites tenders for the provision of an Area Monitoring System.


Within the context of the Common Agricultural Policy, Article 70 of Regulation 2021/2116 requires the establishment of an Area Monitoring System (AMS) by 1st January 2023. Article 65 of 2021/2116 defines an area monitoring system as a procedure of regular and systematic observation, tracking and assessment of agricultural activities and practices on agricultural areas by Copernicus Sentinels satellite data or other data of at least equivalent value.

The AMS will use Copernicus Sentinel Satellite data or other data of at least equivalent value to assess the monitorable eligibility conditions of the relevant area-based schemes.

To allow the reliable observation, tracking and assessment of agricultural activities and practices, the area monitoring system shall, ensure the detection of:
• The presence of ineligible areas, in particular permanent structures;
• The presence of ineligible land use;
• The change in the category of the agricultural area whether it is arable land, permanent crop or permanent grassland.


These observations will be made at the level of agricultural parcel or units of land containing non-agricultural areas and agricultural land considered eligible by the Member State. Where relevant, Member States shall use the information referred to in this paragraph for the purpose of updating the identification system for agricultural parcels.

The scope of the AMS system is to exploit the time series of Sentinel data to continuously monitor all the Feature of Interest (FOI) associated with agricultural parcels within the LPIS and the GSAA that relate to CAP area-based schemes. The system will be required to generate information to confirm or reject area-based eligibility compliance with the declared practices. This information will be communicated to scheme applicants in real time, so that they can be amended by the applicant, if required.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) is issuing this tender to enter into a contract with a vendor to supply an Area Monitoring System (AMS) Service for the Integrated Controls Division (ICD) within DAFM which has the capacity to deliver the obligations of Article 70 of Regulation 2021/2116 which requires the establishment of an AMS by 1st January 2023.

Article 65 of 2021/2116 defines an area monitoring system as a procedure of regular and systematic observation, tracking and assessment of agricultural activities and practices on agricultural areas by Copernicus Sentinels satellite data or other data of at least equivalent value.

The Integrated Administration and Control System

Within the context of the Common Agricultural Policy, REGULATION (EU) No 2021/2116 OFTHE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL requires the establishment and maintenance of an Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) for certain payments provided for in Regulation (EU) No 2021/2115.

The integrated system shall comprise the following elements:

  • An identification system for agricultural parcels,
  • A geo-spatial application system and, where applicable,
  • An area monitoring system,
  • A system for the identification of beneficiaries of the interventions and measures referred to in Article 65(2); (e) a control and penalty system,
  • Where applicable, a system for the identification and registration of payment entitlements, &
  • Where applicable, a system for the identification and registration of animals.

The integrated system shall provide information relevant for the reporting on the indicators referred to in Article 7 of Regulation (EU) 2021/2115.

Land Parcel Identification System

Within the context of the Common Agricultural Policy, Article 68 of Regulation 2021/2116 requires the establishment and maintenance of an identification system for agricultural parcels. According to Article 5 of Regulation 2021/2116, an identification system shall operate at reference parcel level.  A reference parcel shall contain a unit of land representing agricultural area meaning any area taken up by arable land, permanent grassland, or permanent crops. Reference parcels must meet the following requirements:

  • Reference parcels shall be measurable,
  • Reference Parcels shall enable unique and unambiguous localisation of each agricultural parcel annually declared,
  • Reference parcels shall enable the calculation of a maximum eligible area for the purpose of the support schemes, &
  • Locate and determine the size of those ecological focus areas.

The Irish Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS) was originally established in 1995 based on 1:2,500 ordnance survey maps with LPIS parcels being aligned to the Irish National Grid. The LPIS contains approximately 1,300,000 parcels which have been subject to continuous update based on revised maps, review against new orthoimagery, and the results of satellite and ground inspections. In 2018 the DAFM commenced a rebuild of the LPIS which involved making a number of improvements including the realignment of LPIS boundaries to Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSI) Prime 2 to improve positional accuracy, adopting Irish Transverse Mercator as projection standard, and a new parcel numbering system. As of 2023, 19 counties have been delivered to the updated LPIS database with the remaining 7 being maintained on the legacy database. The LPIS rebuild project is scheduled to be completed in 2024 by which time all LPIS parcels will be delivered to the new LPIS database.

In the Irish context the reference parcel commonly referred to as the LPIS Parcel is defined as a continuous area of land, which can comprise of a single field or block of contiguous fields. LPIS parcels are generally declared by a single farmer with the exception of commonage parcels where land is held in common ownership and a single LPIS Parcel can be claimed by multiple farmers. LPIS Parcels are generally claimed with a single crop, i.e., a single agricultural parcel with the exception of temporary subdivision parcels where a farmer may declare multiple crops or agricultural parcels on a single LPIS parcel. LPIS parcel boundaries are generally mapped to real world topographical features, however some LPIS boundaries are based on administrative boundaries or unverified boundaries based on farmer maps. LPIS parcel boundaries do not include permanent non-agricultural features such as public roads, rivers etc.

The LPIS is currently used to administer payments for the following schemes:

  • Basic Payment Scheme* (BPS)
  • Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme (ANC)
  • Green Low Carbon Agri Environment Scheme (GLAS)
  • Protein Aid Scheme (PAS)
  • Beef Data Genomics Programme (BDGP)
  • Young Farmer Scheme (YFS)
  • Forestry Schemes

The LPIS Update Processes

LPIS is subject to continuous update based on revised maps, review against new orthoimagery, and the results of satellite and ground inspections. These updates occur year-round. The following sections give an overview of the different projects which trigger an update of the LPIS.

The below table summarises the number of LPIS parcel updates in a calendar year, in this case data is taken from 2020.

Applicants under the scheme were allocated payment entitlements and are paid on the basis of the number of entitlements held with the requirement to have an eligible hectare of agricultural land per entitlement. Annual applications are made by 15th May and also cover the other land-based aid schemes; for example, ANC, GLAS, Forestry, Protein Aid Scheme and the BDGP. Applicants declare all land parcels available to them and the eligible areas per parcel on their annual application forms. It is of critical importance under the IACS that the LPIS is accurate and fully up to date as regards eligible areas.

If a failure to properly maintain and update the LPIS is determined by a European Commission audit it could lead to a significant financial disallowance.

One of the main means by which the LPIS is kept up to date is by the annual submission of maps by applicants under the Basic Payment Scheme.  These maps are updated as appropriate to amend the eligible areas of the land parcels declared. 

In accordance with EU Parliament and Council Regulation No. 1306/2013 – Articles 59 and 74 and Commission Regulation (EU) No. 809/2014 – Articles 24-27, 30-33a, 37-41, it is necessary for Member States to carry out on-the-spot eligibility inspections on at least 5% of all beneficiaries submitting a Basic Payment Scheme application and/or other area-based scheme applications. Instead of applying the traditional means of on-the-spot checking, i.e., ground inspection, the Member States can make use of remote sensing as outlined in the articles of these Regulations. In Ireland a programme of both Ground Eligibility and Remote Sensing inspections are carried out.

In 2022, it is currently foreseen that approximately 7,000 applications will be controlled by Remote Sensing for land eligibility controls. It is anticipated that the applications will be located in approx. 48 remote sensing zones, reduced to approx. 20 zones where adjacent zones are merged, and will cover some 12,480 km2. In addition, approximately 1000 full ground eligibility inspections will be carried out in 2022 to verify area-based eligibility conditions for the scheme mentioned above.

The practical implementation of the On-the Spot Checks under these regulations is covered by the European Commission Guidance for On-The-Spot Checks (OTSC) and Area Measurement – DSCG/2014/32 – Final REV 4 – Year 2018 – Valid for campaign 2020, which can be downloaded from:

https://marswiki.jrc.ec.europa.eu/wikicap/index.php/Main_Page

In total over 15,000 applicants submitted maps using the on-line system in 2020.

The current GSAA application facility is also the application facility for other area-based schemes, including:        

  • Greening Payment
  • Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme – approx. 80% of applicants qualify
  • Areas of Specific Constraints (Islands) Scheme (ASC)
  • Young Farmers Scheme (YFS)
  • Protein Aid Scheme (PAS)
  • Straw Incorporation Measure (SIM)
  • Green Low Carbon Agri Environment Scheme (GLAS)
  • Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP)

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