The reforms agreed in Brussels back in June have given us the framework for the scheme to replace SPS, however what will we have to do for the payment?

Greening:

  • Greening will be compulsory to claiming the payment and will apply to ALL land that is farmed, not just what is claimed on (much the same as Cross Compliance is now).
  • There are three main elements that make up Greening:
  • Permanent grassland
  • Crop diversification
  • Ecological Focus Areas (EFA’s)

It is likely that the rules on permanent pasture will be the same as now –anything over 5 years will be called permanent. Then it will be monitored on a national level with 2012 as the base year. If on a national level it falls by 5% then the most recently converted may be asked to put back to grassland.

Crop diversification relates to arable land. This is likely to include fruit, land under greenhouses and fallow land but not sure yet on temporary grass –probably arable but not yet confirmed. At the moment the measures are: Crop diversification not required if less than 10ha of arable land. Between 10 and 30 hectares there will need to be 2 crop types and over 30ha then 3 crop types with one crop being no more than 75% of total land. On the plus side it is likely that winter and spring crops will be treated as different crops but on the down side it means MUCH more complicated forms and crop codes in May each year.

Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs) not required if less than 15ha arable land. For those over 15ha likely to be between 5 -7% land required to be EFA. E.g. Fallow land, landscape features, buffer strips, catch crops, woodland edges …. Probably will have to be located on or (hopefully) adjacent to arable land. If the whole farm is over 75% permanent grassland you may be exempt from EFA (to be confirmed). How is this ever going to be recorded?!

Please remember that at this stage there is much to be confirmed and there are quirks and proviso’s throughout; but the above gives you an overview of what we can expect in 2015. It has to be said – it’s not going to be simple or easy!

This blog was kindly provided by Hannah Moule who is one of our professional farming contacts.  She can be contacted at:

Moule & Co, www.mouleandco.co.uk, info@mouleandco.co.uk, 01299 250184