With the autumn drilling season over, many farmers will have already worked through the mind-boggling array of regulations regarding what, how much and when to drill, in order to comply with the 2015 Basic Payment Scheme Greening regulations.
The Carver Knowles team has assisted a number of clients plan their cropping and EFA requirements this autumn helping them ensure that their first BPS claim in 2015 should be trouble free. We will also be assisting clients with the online registration for the new CAPIS service this autumn / winter which will handle the BPS scheme claims from 2015.

Below are some key terms and rules introduced by the new scheme:

Eligible Agricultural Area – This is made up of arable land, permanent grassland and permanent crops.
Arable Land is split into three categories:
• Land cultivated for crop production, including combinable crops, forage crops eg. maize.
• Fallow land where there is no crop production or grazing.
• Temporary grassland which must have been in grass for less than 5 years.

Crop Diversification may apply if you grow over 10 hectares of arable crops. Whether you need to comply with Crop Diversification depends on your potential to qualify for any of the exemptions. Otherwise if you have:
• 10-30 ha arable land – you must grow at least 2 crops – The largest crop must not cover more than 75% of that land.
• Over 30 ha arable land – you must grow at least 3 crops – The largest crop must not cover more than 75% and the two largest must not cover more than 95% of your arable land.

Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs) requirements may apply if you have more than 15ha of arable land (unless an exemption applies). If so, you will need to include areas of the EFA options to give an area equivalent to 5% of your total arable land area. The EFA options must also be located on your arable land.
• EFA options have varying weightings to make up the 5% EFA requirement, for example:

100 ha arable farm = 5ha EFA which is equivalent to:
• 5ha fallow
• 5,555m of buffer strip next to a watercourse
• 7.15 ha nitrogen fixing crops
• 5000m of qualifying hedge
• 16.67 ha of catch or cover crop