Now is a good time to apply for a new 5-year Countryside Stewardship agreement that offers attractive returns for extending benefits to wildlife through both land based and capital options. Applications are now open with a number of different options for you to consider; Mid-Tier, Higher-Tier, Water Capital Only and Wildlife Offers. By applying this year, a new agreement will last for 5 years and carry the business though the medium-term uncertainty to join the new Environmental Land Management System when it has had a couple of years to bed in and sort out any teething problems.
With the confirmation that BPS will be replaced by ELMS (Environmental Land Management System), why not get into the swing of all things Countryside Stewardship early to increase your knowledge and income prior to the loss of BPS.
Land based options include winter bird food (£640/ha). You can include as little or as much of these options as you wish. Often farmers like to use these options in order to maximise the income from each field, the options can be placed in unproductive areas or problem areas. This then ensures the income from each field is maximised and reduces any risk of crop contamination from poor areas within the field. Options such as AB15 two-year sown legume fallow (£522/ha) has been used to good effect to combat fields suffering from blackgrass issues.
Capital options include fencing, (£4.9/metre) hedgerow options, tree planting, and larger capital items such as concrete yard renewal (£27.14/sqm) and roofing for targeted areas (£62/sqm). There is no limit for the amount of capital work that can be applied for, but all of this work has to be completed within the first two years of the agreement.
The scheme does not have to interfere with your current farming system and find options that fit with your farm in order to ensure that it is easy to manage, and easy to comply, or can be used as a stepping stone to changing your farming system.
For more information and to find out if you are in a priority area please contact Chloe at firstname.lastname@example.org or your local FCG office.
Application pack request deadline 31st May
Apply to Natural England for CSFO approval 31st May
Application deadline 31st July