OT5: Organic land management - top fruit

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

How much will be paid

£300 per hectare (ha).

Where to use this option

Available for Mid Tier and Higher Tier

Whole parcel

Only on:

  • land registered as ‘fully organic’ by 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 that are fully stocked at the appropriate spacing for the species and variety of the fruit tree or bush

Where this option cannot be used

  • 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

Maintains top fruit orchards under organic management, providing a range of environmental and public benefits.


  • comply with organic standards for the life of the agreement
  • keep a 1m diameter circle around the base of all newly planted trees clear of vegetation for at least 3 years after planting
  • protect trees to prevent damage from livestock and wild animals
  • manage tree guards to prevent any damage to growing trees

Keeping records

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

  • a valid organic certificate and schedule for all the parcels entered into this option at application and on your annual claim – RPA will not request this information if you have already supplied it for a Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) claim
  • sales receipts for fruit crops - submitted with annual claim
  • 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 evidence:

  • photographs of the trees entered into this option

Applicants will have to send the following with their application:

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

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

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.

Permanent ineligible features may be eligible as part of the option area if registered with a control body.

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.