DEFRA have now partially clarified how they will implement the new EU Greening requirements for the 2018 Scheme Year in England.
The key changes expected are:
There will be a ban on the use of Plant Protection Products on EFA Fallow Land, Catch & Cover Crops and Nitrogen Fixing Crops. This ban is expected to apply to the full lifecycle of the crop (or 1st January to 30th June in the case of Fallow) and will include a ban on seed treatments.
Further details and clarification is sought, but may not be available until the autumn.
The EFA option of Buffer Strips (1m adjacent to watercourses) will be extended to include a buffer strip against any Field Margin. DEFRA are hoping to clarify that the buffer can be against any field edge and need not be adjacent to an environmental feature. It is expected that the weighting will remain at 1m length (and minimum of 1m width) = 9m2 EFA.
An EFA Catch Crop must be established for the extended period of 20th August to 14th October.
The EFA option for Hedges will be extended to include trees in a line.
The EFA option for Nitrogen Fixing Crops will be extended to include mixtures of nitrogen fixing crops and also mixtures of nitrogen fixing crops and other crops.