Mark Spencer, DEFRA Farming Minister has recently (5th January 2023) announced Countryside Stewardship (CS) payments are to rise by an average of 10%. Capital payments will rise by an average of 48%. This is alongside other announcements which aim to make entering and administrating the scheme simpler and fairer.

Feedback from farmers has led to the changes as DEFRA are looking for ways to ensure that entering an environmental scheme remains viable and attractive to farm businesses, despite the increasing prices in agricultural markets.

Revenue payment updates will apply to both new and existing agreements from 1st January 2023, while Capital payment rate changes will only apply to new Countryside Stewardship agreements.

The duration of Capital grant agreements will also increase to 3 years for those that start on or after 5th January 2023.

As well as the announced changes to CS payment rates, DEFRA also announced a new Sustainable Farming Incentive Management payment of £20 per hectare, for the first 50 hectares of land entered in the scheme. This means farmers could receive up to £1,000 per year in addition to their agreement to cover the administrative costs of participation.

A full list of the changes to revenue payment rates can be found here and the changes to capital payment rates can be found here but a few examples of the changes are below;

  • AB1 Nectar Flower mix has increased from £519 to £579
  • AB9 Winter bird food has increased from £640 to £732
  • BN11 Hedgerow planting new hedges / m has increased from £11.60 to £22.97
  • FG2 Sheep netting / m has increased from £4.90 to £7.47
  • GS2 Permanent grassland with very low inputs (non SDAs) has increased from £132 to £151
  • GS4 Legume and herb rich swards has increased from £358 to £382

For further information or to discuss the environmental schemes in more detail please contact one of our team.