SRUC urge farmers to check new Greening rules

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Consultants from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is urging farmers to check key elements of the environmental or “Greening” regulations under the new CAP regime.

The message comes after recent meetings in Angus. It was clear not everyone understood the details regarding the need for plans about Nitrogen and Lime applications or the submission of a map for land designated as an Ecological Focus Area (EFA).

Kara Craig, who is based at the Perth office of SAC Consulting and ran the farmer meetings stressed that not complying with Greening can result in reductions in farmers CAP Greening payments. She said: “One of the most significant changes to Greening rules for 2016 is the need to prepare a Nitrogen Fertiliser and Lime Plan, which all businesses that declare any permanent grassland or parcels of open grazed woodland on their official IACS form must prepare by June 9.

“Although the plans do not have to be submitted they must be available at the time of inspection. They should detail what inorganic nitrogen fertiliser and lime farmers intend to apply on their permanent grass.”

The meetings, funded under the Scottish Government’s Veterinary and Advisory Service, also highlighted some misunderstandings about the submission of EFA maps.

Kara continued: “Previously this map could just be retained on farm, but it now needs to be submitted to the Government’s local RPID office. It should detail the activities chosen from the options that qualify for Environmental Focus Area payments and include their location, with a land parcel identifier (LPID), their width and length and the total area.”

SAC Consulting staff stressed it is important that farmers to check the most up to date guidance that is available on the Rural Payments and Services website. A template of a Nitrogen Fertiliser and Lime Plan and an example of an EFA map is also provided there.

Other changes to Greening for the 2016 scheme year discussed at the meetings included the need to grow two nitrogen-fixing crops which must be surrounded by a Field Margin claimed under EFA. However, any EFA field margins and EFA buffer strips can also now also be within five meters of arable land, allowing these areas to cross a farm track.