SW5: Enhanced management of maize crops

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the enhanced management of maize crops option.

How much will be paid

£133 per hectare (ha).

Where to use this option

Available for Mid Tier and Higher Tier

Whole parcel


Only on land where maize is grown

Where this option cannot be used

  • on parcels identified in the Farm Environment Record (FER) as at high risk of soil erosion or surface runoff

How this option will benefit the environment

It reduces the risk of soil erosion and surface runoff in fields where maize is grown. It will slow runoff water before it builds to a damaging flow, and remove sediment, organic material, nutrients and chemicals carried in the water.


  • harvest the maize crop by 1 October
  • establish a quick-growing cover crop by 15 October that will provide a dense cover and protect the land from soil erosion and runoff

Keeping records

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them on request:

  • field operations at the parcel level, including associated invoices

You should also be aware that at the start of each claim year, a percentage of agreement holders will be asked to take and submit the following photographic records:

  • photographs of the option area taken on 2 October

The following options can be located on the same area as this option:

Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this option

The following section gives advice on carrying out this option successfully but does not form part of the requirements for this option.

Choice of cover crop

  • a mix or a single crop can be used, but crops should be suitable for winter sowing, fast growing and frost tolerant to provide adequate cover over winter
  • a mixture of seeds, such as vetch, phacelia, barley or mustard, can be sown, but the choice of cover crop will depend on herbicide selected and the rates of application for the previous crop
  • choice of cover crop will also depend on the crops grown in the rotation

How to establish the cover crop

  • remove any areas of soil compaction but do not subsoil on archaeological features
  • sow the cover crop (within 2 weeks of harvesting and no later than 15 October)
  • establish by drilling or broadcasting
  • sow at a suitable seed rate to provide a dense cover and protect from soil erosion
  • nutrients should only be used in line with crop requirements; no more than the recommended amount of slurry or manure should be applied for either the maize or the crop that follows it
  • nutrient input must be based on an approved fertiliser management recommendation system (Nutrient Management Guide RB209 or similar)

Using this option next to a watercourse

For fields next to a watercourse, options SW1 - 4m to 6m buffer strip on cultivated land or SW4 - 12m to 24m watercourse buffer strip on cultivated land should be considered. These field margin options will help to capture any sediment or organic materials carried in the runoff water.

Further information

See the Mid Tier manual or Higher Tier manual to find out more about the scheme and how to apply.

Published 2 April 2015
Last updated 10 March 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated for 2017 applications.
  2. Information updated for applications in 2016.
  3. First published.