OP1: Overwintered stubble

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the overwintered stubble option.

How much will be paid

£116 per hectare (ha).

Where to use this option

Available for Mid Tier and Higher Tier

Whole or part parcel


Only on:

  • land registered as organic or ‘in conversion’ with a Defra-licensed organic control body
  • only on stubble that follows the harvest of:
    • cereals (not maize)
    • oilseed rape
    • linseed

Where this option cannot be used

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

How this option will benefit the environment

It creates a winter food source for seed-eating birds, which feed on spilt grain and the seeds of broad-leaved weeds, and a foraging habitat for brown hare.

If successful there will be an increase in the number of farmland birds using the overwintered stubble.


  • bale, chop or spread straw after harvest
  • retain the stubble from harvest until 15 February
  • establish a green overwinter cover crop (such as mustard or fodder radish) on at least 10%, but not more than 50%, of the option area

Do not:

  • apply any fertilisers, manures or lime to the stubble
  • top or graze
  • cultivate the stubble after harvest

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
  • location of this option submitted with your annual claim
  • 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

On your annual claim you will be asked to declare that you haven’t carried out any activities prohibited by the option requirements.

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 stubble area

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.

Rotating this option

This is a rotational option - it can move between eligible parcels, but maintain the same total area (hectarage) each year.

Cover crops should be located (on up to 50% of the option area) where they will help to reduce any risk of soil erosion. To avoid destroying the stubble, the cover crop must be established using only shallow cultivation, and non-inversion techniques.

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.