Cross compliance rules need to be followed all year round and with Inspectors able to arrive at farms unannounced farmers need to be prepared to ensure they are not risking their Basic Payment.

When it comes to farm inspections one of the most important points is to never refuse access. Preventing an Inspector from carrying out their inspection can result in you losing 100% of your Basic Payment.

So what are the most common cross compliance breaches farmers need to be aware of?

In 2015 the main cross compliance breach was failing to carry out a TB test within the testing window so remember to act as soon as the reminder comes through as vet unavailability is not a valid reason to appeal.

Other top breaches were:

  • Cattle Identification – cattle with missing tags and failing to report movements
  • Sheep Identification – a lack of records and failure to notify movements
  • Animal Welfare – insufficient records of deaths, diseases and medicines, inadequate buildings and facilities for animals on the holding and a lack of competence in animal care
  • NVZ’s – missing, insufficient and inaccurate NVZ documents
  • Watercourses – no map to show all surface water on the holding and failing to maintain 2m buffer strips along watercourses
  • Hedges – applying pesticides and fertilisers within 2m of the hedge and cutting hedges on the wrong dates
  • Plant protection – failure to keep records of chemicals applied to crops and failing to apply in line with the correct legislation
  • Public Rights of Way – obstructing rights of way, not reinstating paths to the correct width and failing to spray off crops along rights of way

Farmers may see cross compliance rules as a hassle but they are well worth spending time on. For every negligent non-compliance there is a 1-5% penalty. If non-compliance continues then the next year the penalty will be three times the year before. This continues until penalties reach 15%. At this point negligent non-compliance is classed as intentional non-compliance where fines can be 20 – 100% of the Basic Payment.

You will not always get notice of farm inspections therefore year round record keeping is key. For advice on meeting cross compliance rules to ensure a stress free inspection please call Carver Knowles on 01684 853400.