Here is an update to the Greening Rules for 2018 as the RPA have made some significant changes to the options available for Ecological Focus Areas.

Ban on the Use of Plant Protection Products on Land Used as Ecological Focus Areas

A ban on the application of PPP’s applies to land to be used as:

  1. EFA Nitrogen-fixing crops eg. peas and beans
  2. EFA Fallow
  3. EFA catch/cover crops

Plant Protection Product includes;

  • seed treatments
  • herbicides
  • fungicides
  • insecticides
  • desiccants
  • plant growth regulators

The ban does not officially come into action until the 1st January 2018. However it still applies to Nitrogen-Fixing crops grown this autumn. There are no exceptions to this rule.

Please note that you can still apply PPP’s if you are using a nitrogen fixing crop for crop diversification purposes only.

The Introduction of “Field Margins” as an EFA Option

An EFA “field margin” can be next to a permanent field boundary or landscape feature on arable land.

In order to qualify as an EFA “Field Margin” the margin must be:

  1. At least 1m wide from the edge of the hedge or other field boundary
  2. Next to or within 5 meters of ‘arable’ land

Each margin should not be used for any crop production and it needs to be visually different to any adjoining agricultural land. It should be established by the 1st January 2018 and kept until 31st December 2018.

Each linear meter of margin counts as the equivalent 9m2 of EFA area regardless of its width (subject to the 1m minimum width requirement). The field margin can be located on the same area as an existing 2m Cross Compliance buffer strip although there must be at least 1m of uncultivated land from the edge of the hedge to the crop edge to meet the minimum 1m EFA “field margin” width requirement. Where a “field margin” is located next to a hedge used as an EFA there will be no reductions made to either option.

We consider that the new “field margin” option has the opportunity to offer a great deal of EFA area with minimal effort and will be a welcome addition to the options available to meet the EFA area requirement.

If you would like some more information on the Greening changes or assistance with calculating or checking your EFA requirements and options on your holding for 2018 then please contact us on 01684 853400 and we would be pleased to arrange an appointment