Farmers must ensure they adhere to greening rules under the new Common Agricultural Policy (Cap) to safeguard subsidy payments.
NFU Scotland has issued a reminder to producers that the new regime started on January 1, and as such any land that has been selected for us as an Ecological Focus Area (EFA), field margin or buffer strip must now be out of production.
Livestock must be kept off that land and no agricultural activity undertaken on it until December 31.
EFA fallow land needed to be taken out of production by Thursday of last week, and no livestock can be on it until after July 15.
In addition crops cannot be presented or be planted on EFA fallow land during this period, and maintenance activities such as weed control and drainage will be restricted.
Farmers are also reminded that temporary grass will not be eligible for use as EFA fallow if it was claimed for the fifth time as temporary grass on the 2015 Single Application Form.
The union’s combinable crops chairman Ian Sands urged farmers who have been badly affected by flooding to contact their local government office in writing within 15 days to seek relief from the greening and cross-compliance rules on the grounds of exceptional circumstances.
“In planning for the 2016 scheme and considering their options for EFA, farmers also need to remember that the equivalence scheme described in the Scottish Government guidance regarding crop diversification will not operate this year.”
Growers should also bear in mind the dangers of the catch crop/green cover options which require that such crops must be planted by October 1.