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CAP Reform: How will Greening affect you?

CAP Reform: How will Greening affect you?

It’s that time of year again, stock farmers are busy baling silage and hay ready for winter and the arable men are starting to plan harvest and their next crop rotation. As such, many farmers are busy in the fields and do not want to be bothered by the paperwork side of things…well here is a helpful guide to what is known about CAP reform and inparticular Greening in a short concise briefing note.


Much of Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) crosses over with SPS; Cross Compliance and Statutory Management Requirements will remain in force and be reviewed each year and 1ha will equal one entitlement.  However claimants will need to be fully briefed on the ‘buzz word’ of the moment; that is GREENING:

Requirements of Greening:

Ecological Focus Areas (EFA’s)

EFA can be thought of as a mixture of rebranding of the old set aside rules and the incorporation of environmental management into pillar 1 payments.  Luckily we have now received information on what will constitute an EFA just in time for farmers to plan their next crop rotation. If a farm has more than 15ha of arable land an area of 5% of that arable land must be in EFA.

There will be a weighting framework whereby some EFA’s will be worth more than others.

2015 EFAs will include:

  • Fallow

Weighting is 1:1 so 1 ha of fallow = 1 ha for EFA

We await minimum areas with fallow ground likely needing to be in place for 6 months including 15th May.

  • Hedges

Conversion is 5m² for every metre with the weighting being 2.  What this means is that 1m of hedge will generate 10m² of EFA.  Farmers will need 1000m of hedge to achieve 1ha of EFA.

The bonus of this option is that there is no cross over with ELS.  It has been decided that the ELS payment is for management of the hedge whereas the greening payment will simply be for the presence of the hedge.  The downside however is that those who claim hedges are likely to see delays in their 2015 BPS payment whilst the RPA verifies the information.

  • Buffer Strips

Potentially could be next to watercourses only but this is yet to be confirmed. The conversion factor will be 6m² for every metre run regardless of actual width.  Weighting is going to be 1.5 meaning 1m = 9m² of EFA.  Farmers will need to have 1111m of buffer zone length to achieve 1ha of EFA.

  • Green Cover/Catch Crops

This applies to sown or undersown grass or seed mixtures in place over winter which are not harvested and must be in place by 1st October.

The weighting for cover crops is 0.30 meaning 3.34 ha will achieve 1ha of EFA

  • Nitrogen Fixing Crops.

The confirmed list is not yet published but will likely consist of beans, peas, lupins, soya etc. The weighting will be 0.70 meaning 1.43 ha of nitrogen fixing crops will achieve 1 ha of EFA.

Am I Exempt from EFA’s?

Farmers are exempt from EFA if:

  • They have less than 15ha of arable land.
  • If over 75% of your arable area is temporary grass, leguminous crops or fallow and the remaining arable land is less than 30ha.
  • If over 75% of the Eligible area (whole farm) is in grass (permanent or temporary) and the remaining arable land is not over 30ha.

Can I overlap with my ELS/HLS agreement?

In short ‘double funding’ is not allowed but on reading deeper into this matter it appears DEFRA has employed a degree of leniency:

  • All agreements signed before 1st January 2012 will not be penalised for double claiming
  • All HLS agreements will not be penalised for double claiming
  • All ELS agreements signed after 1st January 2012 will face penalties but the option remains to come out of the scheme or restructure the options without penalty.

Crop Diversification

We have known the crop diversification rules for some time now:

  • Farmers with less than 10ha of arable land are exempt from crop diversification.
  • Farmers with 10-30 ha of arable land must grow a minimum of 2 crops with the main crop not exceeding 75% of the arable land area
  • Farmers with over 30ha of arable land must plant 3 crops with the main crop not being over 75% and the two main crops not exceeding 95% of the total arable area.

Am I exempt from Crop Diversification?

Farmers are exempt if:

  • Over 75% of arable land is in temporary grass or fallow and the remaining arable land is less than 30ha
  • Over 75% of the eligible area (whole farm) is in grass (temporary or permanent) and the remaining arable land is not over 30ha.
  • Where more than 50% of the land was not declared by the farmer the previous year and all the arable land is growing a different crop (New land – New Crop Exemption).

Protection of Permanent Pasture:  Upland and grassland only farmers will achieve their greening requirements simply by maintaining Permanent Pasture.

Key dates

19th October 2014: Deadline for transferring Single Farm Payment Entitlements.

As any surplus entitlements are lost after the 2015 claim year this deadline will prove crucial. It is expected but not yet 100% confirmed that as of mid-January 2015 Basic Payment entitlements will be able to be transferred in much the same way as SPS entitlements.

1st January 2015: Single Farm Payment ceases to exist and in its place comes The Basic Payment Scheme.

15th May 2015: The deadline for claiming BPS in 2015


For more information please contact one of our surveyors (Click here)


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