OP3: Supplementary feeding for farmland birds

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the supplementary feeding for farmland birds option.

How much will be paid

£494 per tonne for every 2 hectares (ha) of wild bird seed mixture.

Where to use this option

Available for Mid Tier and Higher Tier


  • on land registered as organic or ‘in conversion’ with a Defra-licensed organic control body
  • when a qualifying area of OP2 wild bird seed mixture option is included in the agreement (2ha of OP2 - Wild bird seed mixture allows 500 kg per annum of supplementary feeding at each of 2 separate feeding stations)

How this option will benefit the environment

It provides important food sources for farmland birds in late winter and early spring on arable and mixed farms, by supplementing crops of winter bird food with additional seed, such as cereal, oilseed and specialised grains. It gives the birds food through the ‘hungry gap’ (the late winter period when seed is in short supply) and as they enter the breeding season.

If successful there will be farmland birds using the feeding areas once the sown resources have run out.


  • spread the seed mix every week from 1 December to 30 April
  • spread an average of 25kg at least once a week at each of two separate feeding stations
  • select feeding areas that are:
    • firm and free-draining such as farm tracks or hard standing areas
    • close to enhanced winter stubbles, game cover or wild bird seed mixtures

The feeding mix must:

  • comply with organic standards
  • be made of 70% cereals
  • be made of 30% small seeds

Tailings (small seeds removed from the harvested crop) may be used but they must not exceed 30% of the seed mix by weight.

Do not:

  • use hoppers to supply more than 10% of the feeding mix.

Keeping records

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

  • details of the mixture used (weight of components and cost)
  • dates of feeding
  • method of feeding (hopper or spreading)
  • amount of feed spread on each date
  • the location of the feeding areas
  • a valid organic certificate and schedule for all the parcels entered into this option with your annual claim

Applicants will have to send the following with their application:

  • a valid organic certificate and schedule for all the parcels entered into this option

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

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.