Updates by the European Commission on greening rules means many UK-based farmers will have to adapt their working practices in order to comply.
Forming part of the 2018 Basic Payment Scheme, one of the main changes is a complete ban on the use of Plant Protection Products on Ecological Focus Areas (EFA) Fallow Land, EFA Catch and Cover Crops, and EFA Nitrogen-fixing crops.
Coming into effect from 1 January 2018, farmers will now have to consider their cropping decisions based on these new rules.
Ben Compton from Bruton Knowles’ rural team says the new rules will cause issues with many farmers, a lot of whom use nitrogen fixing crops as part of their EFA.
Ben said: “The issue for many farmers is that they will no longer be able to use sprays on areas with nitrogen-fixing crops.
“The ban on plant protection products applies from the time of sowing the crop, even if this is before 1 January 2018, to harvesting. It also applies to seed dressings.
“The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is set to publish more detailed guidance, but a lot of farmers will have already or will be making their cropping decisions now, so any guidance might be too late.
“Best thing to do is seek expert advice as farmers will not want these changes to impact on their BPS payments.
“We’re now on hand to help any farmers calculate what is needed so that they get what for many are vital payments.”