We are pleased to have heard that DEFRA have now confirmed the details to additional changes to the greening rules for the 2018 claim year. Whilst we are still awaiting full guidance, the following areas have been clarified:
- During the EFA fallow period the following additional activities cannot be undertaken: 1) the land cannot be cultivated for weed control; 2) grass may only be sown if it is specifically required under a Rural Development (Pillar 2) Scheme; and, 3) no manure or fertiliser may be applied.
- Land declared as fallow for 5 years or more will convert to permanent grassland. This includes land declared as EFA fallow which used to have no restriction on the number of years it could remain as temporary grassland – it did not convert to permanent grassland after 5 years. Calculations will start from 2018.
- The current rules state that where there is a temporary grassland strip and the first metre width is being used as an EFA buffer strip/field margin with the remaining width used as EFA fallow, the two areas must be visually distinguishable (so it must be possible to see a difference). From 2018, the RPA will be increasingly reliant on physical inspections to check that it is possible to see a difference between the two areas on the ground, so it will be important to ensure that this is the case.
- The multiplier applied to convert EFA nitrogen-fixing crops is now 1 hectare of nitrogen-fixing crops is worth the EFA equivalent of 1 hectare.
- The 30 hectare limitation has now been removed for claimants who have more than 75% eligible agricultural land in permanent or temporary grassland or more than 75% of the arable land is fallow or temporary grassland.