OR5: Organic conversion - top fruit

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the organic conversion - top fruit option.

How much will be paid

£450 per hectare (ha) per year, for up to 3 years.

Where to use this option

Available for Mid Tier and Higher Tier

Whole parcel

Only on:

  • land registered as ‘in conversion’ with a Defra-licensed organic control body
  • parcels that are managed primarily for the production of top fruit (such as apples, pears and plums) and permanent bush crops (such as gooseberries and redcurrants)
  • orchards fully stocked at the appropriate spacing for the species and variety of fruit tree or bush

Where this option cannot be used

  • on parcels that have previously been registered with an organic control body by the applicant
  • on parcels for which the applicant has previously received conversion aid
  • on orchards that are used for the production of alcoholic drinks
  • on orchards that are not in commercial production

How this option will benefit the environment

Helps recently planted and traditional standard orchards (and permanent fruit or berry bushes) convert to organic management.

If successful there will be an increase in the overall land area registered as organic, providing a range of environmental and public benefits.

Requirements

  • follow the conversion plan agreed with an organic control body for the land and any associated stock
  • comply with organic standards from the start of organic conversion to the end of the agreement
  • make sure that all land has completed conversion and is registered as ‘fully organic’ before the end of the agreement
  • protect trees to prevent damage from livestock and wild animals
  • manage tree guards to prevent any damage to growing trees
  • keep a 1m diameter circle around the base of all newly planted trees clear of vegetation for at least 3 years after planting

Keeping records

Applicants will have to send with their application:

  • conversion map showing planting spacing and species within orchard - this can be marked on any map including the Farm Environment Record (FER)

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

  • sales receipts for fruit crops - submitted with the annual claim
  • copies of fruit sale receipts to show that the orchards are in commercial production and not used for the production of alcoholic drinks
  • either a copy of the conversion plan agreed with the organic control body or, if not available, a fully completed viability plan

Agreement holders who have undertaken a viability plan with their application must start their organic conversion process and submit a copy of the conversion plan (agreed with the organic control body) if requested.

All agreement holders will need to supply a valid organic certificate and schedule for all the parcels entered into this option on their annual payment claim if requested.

RPA will not request the above information if you have already supplied it for a Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) claim.

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 evidence:

  • photographs of the trees entered into this option

The Organic management – top fruit option (OT5), should follow on from this option, when the organic conversion period is completed.

Other Countryside Stewardship options and supplements relevant to orchard management may be used on the same land area where eligibility rules allow.

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.