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Applications open for the Sustainable Farming Incentive

Robinson & Hall, land and property professionals share an update on the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI).

Applications for the SFI scheme are now open. There is no deadline for applications, which can be submitted online though the Rural Payment Agency’s system. Payments will be made quarterly with the first payment usually made three months after the agreement start date.

Currently there are only two standards available but more will be available in future years. The standards available, as well as the payment rates, are detailed below:

Arable and Horticultural Soils Standard

Key points:

To be eligible for this standard, each land parcel entered must be cultivated arable land. This can also include temporary grassland, i.e. land that has been in grass or other herbaceous forage for less than five years. Alternatively, temporary grass can be entered into the Improved Grassland Soils Standard. If the temporary grass will have been down for more than five years at some point during the three-year SFI scheme, it will need to be entered in the Improved Grassland Soils Standard as it would no longer be considered arable land.

Improved Grassland Soils Standard

Key points:

To qualify as ‘improved grassland’, the land must have been managed in some of the following ways:

  • Been re-seeded at least once within the last 15 years
  • Regular fertilising, typically at least 100kg per hectare of nitrogen either as an artificial fertiliser or animal manures/slurries
  • Boom spraying herbicide to treat weeds
  • Active, well-maintained field drains
  • Taking any conserved forage as silage, haylage or hay, usually more than once a year
  • A high coverage of ryegrass and white clover.

The detailed scheme requirements can be found here.

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