Act now on changes to BPS greening requirements
Published August 29th, 2017
As the harvest comes to an end farmers are being reminded of changes to the Basic Payment Scheme which could affect their choice of crops to be grown next season.
On June 30, the Commission Amending Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/1155 was published, setting out the changes to ‘greening’, including the ban on the application of Plant Protection Products on EFA nitrogen-fixing crops, from January 2018.
“The changes will impact on some farm businesses so greening delivery should be reviewed now,” advised Mark Morison, partner at property, business and planning specialists Berrys.
He said further RPA guidance is expected by September but in the meantime the following points have emerged:
- Cropping Period – options to alter are not being taken up, so the cropping period will remain May 1 to June 30.
- Land parcels on which small areas of different crops are grown next to each other are to be declared as ‘mixed crops’.
- EFA fallow period unchanged – January 1 to June 30.
- EFA hedge option to be extended to include trees in a line.
- EFA Buffer Strips and Field Margins – options have been merged (only buffer strips were available as an option in England). Subject to confirmation from DEFRA, any field margin, not just buffer strips adjacent to watercourses, which have a minimum width of one metre and maximum width of 20 metres could be eligible as EFA under this option. Mark said that should mean that the weighting applicable to EFA buffer strips (1m length equates to nine square metres of EFA) will also apply to field margins.
- Areas under EFA Catch or Cover Crops must be maintained for a minimum period of eight weeks. This is already met in England with the 15 week period set for Cover Crops, but there will be a new extended period for EFA Catch Crops, which will now have to be established by August 20and retained until at least October 14.
- Nitrogen-fixing crop mixes will be permitted as EFA, as well as mixtures of nitrogen-fixing crops grown with ‘other crops’ as long as the nitrogen-fixing crop is ‘predominant’.
“Clarification of the interpretation of ‘predominant’ is awaited,” Mark said.
“With regard to the ban on Plant Protection Products (PPPs) on EFA fallow, catch and cover crops and nitrogen-fixing crops – PPPs may not be applied on any areas of fallow, catch/cover crops or nitrogen-fixing crops being used for EFA from BPS 2018.
“The ban is likely to apply to the whole crop life cycle and will include seed dressings.
“The new ban will need to be accounted for from the autumn even though the BPS year only commences January. Commission confirmation is however expected on this point and DEFRA is working on more detailed guidance,” he added.
For further advice contact Mark Morison at Berrys on 01743 290647 e: email@example.com