Updates to the greening rules for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) 2018 have been announced.
9 August - Changes to greening requirements for BPS 2018
Basic Payment Scheme 2018 - changes to greening requirements
The European Commission has published updated greening rules which will come into effect from 1 January 2018. You can read a summary of the updates below, more detailed guidance will follow.
Updates for BPS 2018
The main changes to the 2018 greening rules are as follows.
- A complete ban on the use of Plant Protection Products on Ecological Focus Area (EFA) Fallow Land, EFA Catch and Cover Crops, and EFA Nitrogen-fixing Crops is introduced. The ban applies from the time of sowing the crop, even if this is before 1 January 2018, to harvesting. The ban also applies to seed dressings.
- As part of crop diversification, you can declare an area as ‘mixed crops’ that contains small areas of different crops grown next to each other. Individually these would otherwise be too small to claim (these are areas less than 0.01ha) but can be claimed as one ‘mixed crop’ area.
- The EFA option for hedges is extended in definition to include trees in a line. The EFA value will remain the same - each metre of length equals 10 square metres of area for EFA (as long as if you claim this option you have management responsibility for both sides of the hedge and/or line of trees)
- The EFA buffer strips option is extended in definition to include field margins as well as buffer strips. In addition to buffer strips adjacent or parallel with a water course, you can also claim field margins towards your EFA. The minimum width of 1 metre remains. The EFA value of field margins will be the same as EFA buffer strips - every metre in length equals 9 square metres of area for EFA.
- EFA catch crops must be maintained for a minimum of 8 weeks starting on 20 August 2018 and must be retained until at least 14 October 2018. The period for EFA cover crops remains at 1 October to 15 January of the following year.
- If you claim EFA nitrogen-fixing crops, in addition to pure stands of a nitrogen-fixing crop you will be allowed to use :
- mixtures of different nitrogen-fixing crop species; or
- mixtures of nitrogen fixing crops and other crops, as long as over 50% is nitrogen-fixing crops.
If you sow your 2018 EFA nitrogen-fixing crops in autumn 2017, this more flexible rule applies.
What you need to do
The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will publish more detailed guidance, but in the meantime you should consider these updates in any cropping decisions you are making for 2018.
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