Calls for a special hedgecutting dispensation for oilseed rape growers have been denied by the Scottish Government.
The request comes following a change to the date in which farmers can start cutting and maintaining hedges around their fields from July 31 to August 31.
According to NFU Scotland moving the date back a month presents a problem for rape growers, as the crop is normally planted before August 31 each year.
President Nigel Miller said: “What we are asking for is a sensible derogation, approved by local Scottish Government offices on a case-by-case basis if necessary, to allow farmers to continue to cut hedges in fields to be planted with oilseed rape during the month of August.
“That would allow necessary hedge maintenance to be carried out without the tractor and hedge cutter going in after 31 August and potentially damaging a growing crop.
“Such an approach has been agreed as part of the rules in England and we think it would be appropriate that Scottish rape growers had the same opportunity.”
Despite the plea from the union, which has also written a letter to farm minister Richard Lochhead on the issue, the government has ruled out a change to the rules.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The Scottish Government is aware of these concerns and considered a derogation during the development of the current rules. However, the bureaucracy involved would be disproportionate considering the area of oilseed rape, the later planting season in Scotland and the fact that hedges can be cut after August 31 when the oilseed rape crop is harvested. In addition some hedges do not need to be cut every year and there are conservation benefits cutting every second year.”