Find out about eligibility and requirements for the reduced-depth, non-inversion cultivation on historic and archaeological features option.
How much will be paid
£79 per hectare (ha).
Where to use this option
Available for Mid Tier and Higher Tier
- only on Scheduled Monuments on arable land or temporary grassland
- only with the written approval of Historic England as confirmed on your Historic Environment FER (HEFER) consultation response
Where this option cannot be used
- where historic or archaeological earthworks are known to survive
- where soil movement or loss has been identified as a problem
How this option will benefit the environment
It reduces damage to historic and archaeological features under cultivation by using non-inversion (minimum tillage) machinery and shallower cultivation depths.
Protecting historic and archaeological features will conserve the historic character of the farm and protect England’s heritage for future generations. This option may also maintain and conserve landscape character.
If successful there will be a soil surface with no evidence of:
- subsoil (which indicates a deeper cultivation depth)
- freshly disturbed archaeological remains, such as pottery, burnt flint, flint tools, animal and human bone and building stone and tile
- use non-inversion (minimum tillage) machinery to reduce cultivation depths
- make sure that vehicle or stock access routes are at least 6m away from the feature (existing surfaced tracks can be used)
- agree with Natural England in writing all drainage works, including modification to existing drainage, before any works take place
- ensure that the following field operations do not go deeper than 15cm:
- soil management
- grow the following crops on the option area:
- root and tuber crops, (excluding non-harvestable root crops such as grazed fodder beet and forage turnips)
- short rotation coppice
Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them on request:
- field operations at the parcel level, including associated invoices
- consents or permissions connected with this work
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 management undertaken
All applicants must submit the following with the application.
- land drainage maps
- a map of existing tracks
- written approval for the use of the option from Historic England
Related Mid Tier options
These options and supplements can be located on the same area as this option:
- AB4 – Skylark plots
- AB7 - Whole crop cereals
- AB10 - Unharvested cereal headland
- AB11 – Cultivated areas for arable plants
- AB14 - Harvested low input cereal
- OP5 - Undersown cereal
- OR3 - Organic conversion - rotational land
- OR4 - Organic conversion - horticulture
- OT3 - Organic land management - rotational land
- OT4 - Organic land management - horticulture
- SW6 - Winter cover crops
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.
Where earthworks survive, applicants should use HS9 Restricted depth crop establishment to protect archaeology under an arable rotation.
Reduce cultivation depth and compaction
Cultivation depth can be reduced by:
- raising the height of the chisel
- using depth control chains or gauges
- using a GPS depth controller
- increasing the number of discs (14 discs for a 3m width instead of the usual 9)
- using depth wheels with parallelogram mounting
Compaction can be reduced by:
- not working in wet soil conditions
- reducing tyre pressure on vehicles travelling on the site to spread the load more evenly
The following Historic England guide may be of use:
Published: 2 April 2015
Updated: 10 March 2017
- Updated for 2017 applications.
- Information updated for applications in 2016.
- First published.