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SFI: Where are we now?

Harper Adams University Student Placement Consultant, Rosie Thornton attended the SFI clinic hosted by Frontier and Kings Seeds recently. Her takeaways from this interesting morning are as follows:

Background Information

  • 3-year agreements which can be amended every 12 months.
  • Quarterly payments.
  • Lots of assessments are being done via satellite.

SFI vs. Countryside Stewardship

  • SFI is more flexible than Countryside Stewardship à there is a lot of emphasis on meeting the aim within each SFI action.
  • DEFRA has put less rules in place regarding the method in which farmers must do each action and want farmers to use their judgement as long as what they do will meet the action’s aim.
  • Having said this, there is recommended guidance for each SFI action, and it is wise to follow that as a ‘safety net’ so if anything fails and DEFRA start asking questions, you are able to tell them that you did what they advised otherwise they may question about why you did what you did.
  • It is also very important to keep evidence of everything you do. This scheme is heavily evidence-based and keeping evidence such as photographs and receipts (e.g., for seed) will help to prove that you are trying to meet the aim.
  • The structure of SFI is more “if they don’t say you can’t, then you probably can”.

Soil Actions

SAM2 – Multi-species winter cover crop:

  • This includes sowing a mix of seed that is made up at least 2 species from different families which are:
    • Legumes
    • Brassicas
    • Grasses
    • Cereals
    • Herbs
  • There are no rules regarding the proportion of this mix so it could be anything from 50:50 to 90:10, as long as the receipt for the seed shows that it is a mix that meets the criteria, you will be able to evidence that you are meeting the aim for this action.
  • Volunteer cereals do not count as the second species, there must be at least two species in the mix that is drilled.
  • It must be established and in the ground before the winter months in order to meet the action’s aim (this is from beginning of December to February) but you are able to ‘destroy’ the cover crop up to 6 weeks before the beginning of February to aid establishment of spring crops.
  • Advice regarding grazing & SAM2:
    • Allowed to graze the cover crop over winter.
    • Must not over-graze the cover crop (e.g., to the ground) otherwise this will be seen as failing to meet the action’s aim.
    • Therefore, recommended to use back-fencing/block-grazing to keep animals moving along the crop to prevent over-grazing.
    • Also recommended to use a grass in the seed mix if planning on grazing it over winter as grass will “always appear green” and it will not appear to be as over-grazed as other crops.

SAM3 – Herbal Leys:

  • Not much was spoken about regarding this action, but it was highlighted that there is more guidance on what the seed mix must be for this option than SAM2.
  • The payment is also slightly less than other similar options within SFI as you can graze or cut this option.

Nutrient Management Actions

NUM3 – Legume Fallow:

  • Has been amended recently to become a rotational option therefore it can be used as a break crop.
  • Must include at least 6 flowering species, including legumes.
  • There must be flowering plants from late May to meet the aim.
  • Cannot cut or graze this option unless it is to control blackgrass or annual grass.
  • The advice given to us was not to sow in spring but to establish it in autumn and use it as a true break crop and move yearly.
  • The risk of sowing in spring is that there may not be enough flowering plants by late May, and you will fail to meet the action’s aim.
  • The only time you can cut and remove the crop from the field is after it has been established for the year/2 years and you are removing it to bring the field back into rotation and the legume fallow has been moved to another field.

Hedgerow Actions

  • Woodland Trust are currently giving out free tree packs which you can use to boost hedgerow trees to meet the HRW3 (Maintaining Hedgerow Trees) criteria which is an average of 1 per 100m of hedge across the whole farm.
    • For example, if you have 500m of hedges that are eligible for HRW3, you must have at least 50 hedgerow trees across the farm to be able to claim the full 500m.
  • You can only count internal hedges for HRW3 and must have management control of both sides.
  • If you put hedgerows in HRW1, 2 or 3, you are also eligible for CS Capital Grants for laying, coppicing, and gapping.
  • Be aware that you may need to submit an RLE1 form if you include hedges in your application that are not already on the RPA hedge layer.

Buffer Strips

  • This option is for 4-12m buffer strips, can have over 12m but will only be paid for up to 12m.
  • These strips cannot be used for storage, regularly vehicular access or turning à there must not be any visible tracks on these strips and it is important to bear in mind that DEFRA are using satellite to carry out assessments so any tracks will show in grass.
  • These strips must be buffering an existing landscape feature:
    • Ditches
    • Woodland
    • Hedgerows
    • Rivers
    • Streams
    • Some heritage features.
    • Can also be placed next to a track to prevent run off or next to a fence if the fence is in place to protect a wildlife feature.

Integrated Pest Management Actions

IPM3 (Companion Cropping):

  • Must meet at least one of the four aims:
    • Supporting IPM approach (suppressing weeds/acting as trap crop)
    • Provide habitat for birds/insects.
    • Manage nutrient efficiency.
    • Protect soil and improve its condition.
  • Rotational option
  • The companion crop does not have to be present for the full growing period.

IPM, NUM, SAM Management Plans

  • IPM and NUM Management Plans needs slightly more information for SFI such as a paragraph at the end where the advisor provides insights and advice on how to maintain and improve current conditions.


  • Photographs (drilling, crop establishment, crop damage)
  • Receipts (for seed etc.)
  • Maps (e.g., hedges, fields)
  • Soil Reports

New Mindset

  • DEFRA’s approach to SFI was to leave the method to farmers’ own good judgement if they achieve the actions’ aims BUT… if farmers start to ask too many questions and find too many loopholes, they will put rules in place despite not wanting to.
  • DEFRA rules are in place to try to encourage farmers to help their own pocket:
    • g., organic matter testing can help performance and improve nutrient use efficiency and understanding of which fields have more run-off etc.

Key Points

  • Make sure you read and understand the aim as meeting the aim is the key to success.
  • Keep evidence! It is very important to be prepared for checks and inspections.
  • SFI is not prescriptive à general rule of thumb when approaching the actions is “if it doesn’t say you can’t, then you can”.
  • SFI does not have the same set of “firm rules” that we are used to with other environmental schemes.
  • Following the recommended guidelines for each action will provide a “safety net” if anything fails and DEFRA starts to ask why the farmer did what they did.

If you would like advice on how you can apply for SFI and what options would suit your business, then contact the Wilson Wraight office for more information.

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What is the farm for? IAgrM National Farm Management Conference returns

The annual National Farm Management Conference, organised by The Institute of Agricultural Management (IAgrM), is returning to the QEII Centre in London on Tuesday 7 November, 2023.

With the intriguing theme: ‘What is the farm for? Technology v Tradition: The Future of Agricultural & Environmental Management,’ this year’s conference promises to take a deep dive into pressing questions around the purpose of farms in light of the climate crisis, and the convergence of regenerative agriculture with modern agri-tech.

Hear insights from industry experts

The conference boasts an impressive lineup of industry experts who will share thought-provoking discussions and perspectives to unpack the central theme.


Sessions and speakers include:

  • Professor Sir Charles Godfray, Oxford University: Exploring the issue of agriculture as both problem and solution for climate change
  • Sam Hall, director of the Conservative Environment Network: Discussing strategies to reverse biodiversity loss caused by intensive agriculture
  • Will Jennings, CEO, Rabobank: Providing a macroeconomic overview of farming and supply chain industries
  • Joseph Keating, Co-op Agricultural Manager: Leading a session on how regenerative food production can impact supply chain procurement policies
  • Regenerative Farmers and Agronomists: Including Paul Carrott, Will Oliver, Paul Cherry, and Ed Brown, head of Agroecology at Hutchinsons, who will share their experiences on implementing regenerative farming at scale
  • Aidan Connolly, Managing Director, Kincannon and Reed: Offering a transatlantic take on agricultural technology from the USA.
  • Sarah Bell, British Farm Data Council: Discussing the ownership of farm data

Addressing climate change and biodiversity loss

The conference will tackle two critical issues facing humanity: climate change and biodiversity loss. By exploring the relationship between food production and environmental protection, attendees will gain valuable insights into how agriculture can balance these demands and contribute to solving these challenges.


Regenerative farming: transforming agriculture and supply chains

Are we seeing a return to traditional farming with the emergence of the regenerative movement? Experts will discuss how farmers can transition to regenerative practices, including the impact on food supply chains, procurement policies and practical examples of successful transformations.

Opportunities and challenges with technology

Debating technology’s role in agriculture will be a key focus, examining the opportunities and barriers preventing its widespread adoption. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of how technology is revolutionising farming and shaping the industry.

A golden opportunity to network, to be inspired and expand your knowledge

The National Farm Management Conference 2023 offers a unique opportunity to engage with industry leaders and contribute to discussions on the most pressing issues at the forefront of agriculture. Don’t miss this ground-breaking event that seeks to balance food production and environmental stewardship.

To book tickets and view the list of speakers, visit

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Wilson Wraight Autumn Webinar 2023: Has the landscape of UK Agriculture changed?

Wilson Wraight’s Annual Webinar, this year is falling in Autumn and tackles the challenges currently facing UK Agriculture.


The format of the morning is

  • Chairman’s introduction – Nick Banks, from Scrutton Bland
  • How has the landscape of UK Agriculture changed, a consultants viewpoint – Rachel Bush and Rachel Brooks
  • How has the landscape of UK Agriculture changed, a planners viewpoint -Dan Hewett and Charlie Bixby
  • Are the risks in farming now too great? – Ben Skinner
  • DEFRA: Friend or Foe – is the grass greener on the other side? – George Atkin and Ewen Dangerfield
  • Q & A

To register and view on the day or on catch up afterwards please click here

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The Day In The Life Of A Farming Consultant

In the first of our blogs on life at Wilson Wraight, we are concentrating on the original role here, the Farming Consultant.


My name is Tom Bart, I am a farming consultant at Wilson Wraight and have been since May 2022.


If I don’t have any meetings planned for the beginning of the day, I’ll start my day by either heading straight to the office for around 8am or checking the crops on an estate I am involved with managing directly. I find it really rewarding seeing the life cycle of the crops we grow and understanding the financials and management that goes into it especially having attended the nursery on the estate as a youngster.


Once back in the office. I’ll respond to any emails, check the crop markets, and then knuckle down with some figure work whether that be a farm budget for the year ahead, a farm report of the year previous or a cashflow update to understand how a business is performing throughout the year. I enjoy using my brain to determine what works and what doesn’t in creating a sustainably profitable farming business.


Lunch time arrives and I’ll usually take a stroll into Bury St Edmunds with colleagues and if the weathers nice, through the abbey gardens. I enjoy working in Bury and socialising with the team outside of the office.


If I’m working on a big project, my afternoon will continue with farm business analysis work.  Otherwise, I’ll usually use the afternoon to go through any work with my team or prepare for any meetings we have coming up.


The rest of my role involves meeting with clients either in the office or on farm, where we walk through the analysis work I’ve built for them and help answer any questions whilst I get to know the inner workings of each individual farm.  There’s never two days the same just as no two farms are the same.


I am extremely lucky and grateful to have been brought up around agriculture and can often be found away from the day job applying what I’ve learned so far in my career to the home mixed enterprise farm. The knowledge and expertise that our team possesses is invaluable to our clients and to everyone in the office as we strive to mitigate and outweigh the loss of the basic payment scheme together.



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Welcome to our 2023/2024 Scholarship Students

Wilson Wraight has supported the Harper Adams University Scholarship Programme since 2014. So far, we have had thirteen talented and exciting students through the doors. Alongside a contribution to assist with costs, we offer a full year of employment experience, which offers students the chance to fully immerse themselves in the work life of an Agricultural Consultant.  They are mentored by a Partner in the business, attend client visits, pull together budgets and reports, build applications for the growing number of grants and are offered the opportunity to undertake all the training and personal development that any employee would. Alongside this, they embark on a placement project to have the chance to add value and leave a legacy.  Previous results include us adopting new software, evolving our culture and addressing how we show up to our peers.


The students are completely integrated into our business, and this is a massive benefit to them. Former students have gone on to find international opportunities whilst others have returned to Wilson Wraight once they have finished their studies. The 22/23 students, Tash McDonagh, Emily Salisbury and Phoebe Eglington have yet again been outstanding in their skills and abilities to adapt to working life in our office and will all forge their own paths after graduation All very different people but watching them grow over this last year has been very rewarding, we will watch their next steps with pride.


This week, we welcome our fourteenth and fifteenth placements from Harper Adams University.  Rosie Thornton and Tom York are our 23/24 student scholarship winners. Rosie brings a range of experience on farms and from within the industry. She is looking to take her knowledge to the next level. Tom is studying for a BSc Agri-Business. His passion for farming began at an early age and he has worked on a large variety of farms and has seen first hand that the business aspect of running a farm is critical. We look forward to welcoming them into the team and have lots planned to get them onboard. They have already taken part in the summer social and obligatory ‘pub lunch’.


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Government’s Plan for Water: The Water Management Grant (Round 2)

Tash McDonagh, one of our Harper Adams Placement Students has taken time to summarise the latest round of the Government’s Plan for Water as follows –


The Government released their Plan for Water document on the 4th April 2023, this document sets out how they plan to achieve their water security goals in the UK. The document splits the Government’s plan into three sections;

  1. Transform the management of the whole water system
  2. Deliver a clean water environment for nature and people
  3. Secure a plentiful supply of water

The final section of the document is the most crucial for those involved in the agricultural sector because this includes the Government’s plan to secure a supply of water for farmers. The main aims of this plan are:

  • To increase the amount of water stored on-farms to 66% by 2050
  • To allow farmers to obtain abstraction licences quicker and easier
  • To remove planning barriers to smaller reservoirs
  • To encourage more agricultural collaborations such as the Felixstowe Hydrocycle Ltd

There are also two grants within the plan:

  • The Slurry Infrastructure Grant
    • £34 million grant funding slurry stores and slurry equipment
    • Currently closed for applications however DEFRA have announced that another two rounds will be released in late 2023 and 2024
  • The Water Management Grant
    • £10 million grant funding on-farm reservoirs and irrigation equipment
    • Currently open for applications


The Water Management Grant (Round 2)


The Water Management Grant provides funding for on-farm reservoirs, irrigation technologies and irrigation infrastructure as part of the Farm Transformation Fund – this is the second round of funding for this grant. The grant is aimed towards businesses that grow irrigated crops, which can either be a landowner or a business renting land to grow the crops. If the business applying is renting the land, then they will need to have a sufficient period of time left on the rent agreement.  The grant will cover 40% of the projects cost, with up to £10 million of funding available:

  • Minimum grant fund per project is £35,000 (£87,500 total project cost)
  • Maximum grant fund per project is £500,000 (£1,250,000 total project cost)

It is possible for an applicant to make up to 3 applications for different projects, as long as the total grant funding applied for does not exceed £500,000.


The Water Management Grant has been set up to promote sustainable water sources therefore it will not support projects that source water from:

  • Summer water abstraction
  • Mains

The grant will support projects that source water from:

  • Winter peak-flow abstraction
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Bore hole/aquifer

The grant can be used to apply for reservoir construction and infrastructure items, irrigation equipment and irrigation technologies, to find a full list of the eligible items that you can apply for under the grant then please follow this link.


Application – Two Stage Process

Stage One

Stage one of the application process is a short online application, this opened on the 19th  April and will close at midnight on the 12th July 2023. The application has an eligibility section at the beginning which will be scored; strong, average or weak – this part can be completed as many times as you would like to improve your score but once you go past this part and submit, you cannot resubmit. The details required for the stage one application are listed below:

  • Farm/business details
  • Items required
  • Estimated cost
  • Planning permission (you need to indicate if planning permission will be required but no details need to be given in stage one)
  • Abstraction licence (you need to indicate if an abstraction licence will be required but no details need to be given in stage one)
  • Current/future water and irrigation use
  • Cropping

Once all stage one applications have been submitted the RPA will assess the applications and if the grant is oversubscribed, they will shortlist the applicants according to the best fit to policy objectives.


Stage Two

Successful stage one applicants will be invited to stage two/full application a month after stage one is close – approximately mid-August. You will then be required to provide further information at this stage, as listed below:

  • Abstraction licences
  • Current and future irrigation water sources
  • Current and future irrigation techniques
  • Areas of current and future irrigated land
  • Cropping that will be irrigated
  • Quotes
    • For items over £5,000 you will need to provide 3 different quotes from different companies
    • For items under £5,000 you will only need to provide 1 quote
  • Evidence of project funding
  • Planning permission (if required)

The Water Management Grant requires you to fund the other 60% of the project privately – hence why they require evidence of project funding. Private funding can come in the form of a loan, mortgage or funding from a private company such as a water company, as long it is not considered public funding. You are allowed to purchase items using lease purchase or hire purchase as long as when you claim the grant funding you own the items outright and have paid off all installments.

The stage two applications should take approximately 6 weeks to complete and can be submitted as soon as you are ready too. The deadline to submit is 31st October 2024.


Project Construction

Once the full application is submitted, the RPA will try to turn it around in approximately 60 days when a Grant Funding Agreement will be offered to the applicant. According to these timescales we believe the earliest the Grant Funding Agreement could be offered is January or February 2024. It is crucial that the Grant Funding Agreement is accepted and signed before any of the following is started on the project:

  • Work or commitments to costs (deposits)
  • Legal contracts
  • Any orders

If work is started before the agreement is accepted, then your application will become ineligible.


The RPA have estimated that project construction should take around 18 months to complete from the date the Grant Funding Agreement is accepted but if you believe your project will take longer, the RPA will reassess the timeline. Grant funding will be paid in Arrears which means that you will only be able to claim your funding after the money has been spent – you can claim your total funding in up to 3 separate payments.


Final Notes


Once constructed, the reservoir water can be sold or traded with neighboring farms as long as evidence can be provided that some of the water is still being used in the applicant’s business.


If you have any questions regarding the Government’s Plan for Water or the Water Management Grant, then please get in touch with us –


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Reasons to Visit Wilson Wraight at Cereals 2023: BNG, Capital Grants and SFI

With the ever-increasing move towards environmentally sympathetic farming, Wilson Wraight are on hand to provide advice to help achieve this. Three areas which are of great importance are Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG), Capital Grants and Environmental Land Management (ELM).


Biodiversity Net Gain is a scheme to ensure that future development of land has a positive effect on the environment. For example, on a housing development the loss of habitat must be offset either on or offsite based on the Natural England’s biodiversity metric 4.0 which places a value on land type. As you expect the metrics are complex, an example to illustrate this (which is not accurate to the metric) is, 1 acre of arable at a metric value of 1 lost to housing could be offset by half an acre of wildflower meadow if that had a metric of 2 per acre. Demand for BNG is highly variable and based on location and planning requirements.


Capital grants are available as a standalone grant, or part of mid or higher tier older environmental stewardship agreements and SFI. The agreements offer capital items to achieve specific environmental benefits within 4 groups.

  • Boundaries, trees and orchards
  • Improved water quality
  • Improved air quality
  • Improved natural flood management

There is now no limit to the value that can be applied for. However, the grant only offers a contribution towards the cost of each capital item. Capital grants are best used to enable the delivery of land options or for clear business and environmental benefits.


Which leads us on to ELM. The Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) is the first tier of ELM, it is made up of 3 year agreements with a high degree of flexibility through the selection of various ‘standards.’ The SFI scheme is likely to suit farms new to stewardship or those wanting to supplement countryside stewardship with some additional broader options.

Countryside Stewardship offers a more complex, longer-term approach with more options than SFI. If your considerations are more ambitious, the Landscape Recovery incentive is available for highly complex, bespoke and large areas of change.


Wilson Wraight will be at Cereals on the 13th and 14th June, please come and visit us on stand 260, if you wish to discuss the Environmental Schemes or any other matters in more detail.



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Reasons to Visit Wilson Wraight at Cereals 2023: FFRF

Wilson Wraight are one of the providers under the DEFRA supported Future Farming Resilience Fund (FFRF).  The scheme is designed to help farmers and landowners understand the impact of the phasing out of the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), which will end after the 2027 scheme year, and what and how they may need to adapt their business to retain profitability.


The Wilson Wraight service first considers overall business performance and structure as businesses need to be successful at their core to be in a position to develop and evolve.  The process begins with analysis of past financial accounts and other sources of relevant information to gain an insight into past trends and potential issues or concerns.  This would include profitability and balance sheet analysis as structure and liquidity are equally as important as trading results.


Further to the past financial performances we would also consider available resources and key objectives of the business owners to enable a SWOT analysis to be completed (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats).  This would identify the level of BPS to be received over future years and what steps should be considered to ensure a successful future.  This could range from farm level with regards to cropping and fixed cost controls, to diversification opportunities.  There may also be instances where businesses are already under pressure and wholesale changes to the business activities may need to be considered.


Whilst the service is very much targeted at business performance, it is possible to tailor the advice to specific areas the client may wish to investigate, whether that be future schemes, business opportunities or in-depth analysis of cost structure and performance.  Although the scheme is DEFRA funded, the advice will be confidential and is not shared with DEFRA.


With an increasingly complex agricultural backdrop, the need for businesses to review their performance and consider future strategy has never been more vital.  It can be difficult for business owners to step back from the day to day pressures to properly consider the impact of recent changes on short and medium term prospects.  The FFRF provides an excellent opportunity to do this, supported by experienced consultants with a broad breadth of knowledge on all aspects of running a rural-based business.


Wilson Wraight will be at Cereals on the 13th and 14th June and please come and visit us if you wish to discuss the FFRF or any other matters in more detail.




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Farming Equipment and Technology Fund 2023

Our Harper Adams Student Consultant, Emily Salisbury kindly reviewed the takeaway moments from the DEFRA webinar that ran yesterday, Tuesday 28th February.


There are two strands of funding available:


The Farming Transformation Fund

  • Supports larger transformational projects.
    • Intention to launch a water improvement grant in the Spring 2023.
    • Support on-farm reservoirs.
    • Support the best irrigation practices.
    • Irrigation infrastructure
  • Plans to announce further rounds of slurry infrastructure and a new animal health and welfare infrastructure grant for cattle farmers.
  • Other grants to fund automation and robotics will be available later in 2023.

The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund

  • Productivity and slurry fund opened 21st February, closing on 4th April, 91 items.
    • Max £25k claim with £1k being the minimum claim per theme.
    • Competitive scheme.
    • No ex-demo, second hand, part exchange or ‘try before you buy’ items are eligible, but this may change in the future.
  • Animal Health and Welfare – Open March 2023, 112 items, serial numbers required for specific items.

Productivity and slurry and animal health and welfare will be two separate portals.


Animal Health and Welfare

  • Animal Health and Welfare Review
    • Opened 7 Feb 2023
    • Vet or Vet-led team visit farm and carry out a yearly review of annual health and welfare.
    • Restricted to one visit per keeper.
    • Option to Choose own Vet.
  • Animal Health and Welfare Grants (FETF)
    • Capital investments in equipment technology and infrastructure that support health and welfare priorities.
  • Disease eradication and control programmes
    • From 2023/24
    • Diagnostic testing, vaccination, vet advice and farm management
  • Payment is by results, results-based finance of improvement in health and welfare is being trialed in 2023.


Pathway priorities



·         Tackle PRRS.

·         Increase biosecurity.

·         Decrease sow confinement during farrowing.

·         Reduce stressors to keep tails intact.



·         Tailored screening for priority endemic diseases.

·         Reduce lameness.

·         Improve Pain management.

·         Improve Ewe sustainability.



·         bovine viral diarrhoea (BDV).

·         Reduce lameness and mastitis.

·         Upgrade housing.

·         Improve pain management.

·         Improve welfare at pasture.



·         Adopt welfare – improving technology.

·         Better chicken commitment.

·         Transition out of cages.

·         Improve feather cover and heel bone health.



Application scoring

  • Applications to each portal are scored separately.
  • The scores for each item are added up and averaged.
  • If they are oversubscribed, funding will be awarded to the highest scoring applications.
  • Example:

1 X FETF 45 – 6m Seed Drill (item score: 64)

1 X FETF 27 – Slurry Separators (item score: 63)

1 X FETF 32 – Dribble Bar (item score: 58)

Application Scores 61.67 (64+63+58 = 185/3)


Expected average total costs of items

  • Manufacturers were visited in Autumn 2022, the lowest price given was indicated.
  • Invoices from round one also assisted with this figure.


Key notes

  • Every item has a letter:
    • A – Animal Health and Welfare
    • P – Productivity
    • S – Slurry
  • Ensure that the same details on RPA are used when applying – business name, email address etc.
  • Refundable deposits can be asked from suppliers.
    • They must not exceed 50% of the total cost of item.
    • Discussions regarding deposits and/or orders must occur whilst window is open.
  • Claim form open for 6 months until October 2023.
  • Confirmation to be granted 4 weeks are after the applications close.
  • Potential for ongoing post checks for 5 years.
  • You do not have to be a BPS recipient in order to receive the funding, but you must have an SBI number.
  • An invoice from the supplier containing the full amount must be obtained.

For more information contact

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ELM Meeting Update

Our Environment Consultant George Atkin attended the ELM Meeting and has some updates from DEFRA on where they are going as the scheme develops.


DEFRA want to regularly review and ratchet up ambition to deliver targets in the environment act “more ambition over time”. The Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) will be placed as a gateway to Countryside Stewardship (CS), although in a lot of cases, SFI and CS tailored together will maximise environmental and financial return.  Landscape Recovery (LR) remains the most flexible, ambitious and least prescriptive.

DEFRA indicated that regulation would target those causing environmental harm, creating a “credible risk of being caught,” rather than penalising small discrepancies in option area.


Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI)

Six new standards (up from three promised) with 19 actions, going live in Summer.

  • Hedgerow
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
  • Nutrient Management
  • Arable/horticulture land
  • Improved grass
  • Low input grass

I find the IPM standard the most exciting, with in field pollinator strips, payment for not using insecticides and payment for an IPM plan.

DEFRA reports that hierarchical levels not workings as well as hoped, standards currently laid out this way to stay as they are for now. New ones will have a pic and mix of options.

Work is still being done on the Agroforestry standard.


Countryside Stewardship (CS)

Will evolve to deliver Local Nature Recovery (LNR) intent, expanding and refining over time. 30 additional options by the end of 2024.

The ‘+’ of the ‘CS+’ stands for local join-up (an additional payment). The ‘CS’ part continues largely as CS has in the past, simply expanded. CS options could be income foregone + costs + collaboration. This is something we will be keeping a close eye on.

  • Higher tier applications to open in February
  • Middle tier applications to open in March
  • Three years to complete capital works
  • Can have separate CS alongside existing ELS/HLS

With regards to CS/SFI stacking DEFRA are working towards mutual exclusivity to remove the possibility of double funding and improve the compatibility of the two.


Landscape Recovery (LR)

The next round of applications for LR is opening in spring 2023, with the focus on:

  • Net Zero (peat/woods)
  • Protected sites
  • Habitat creation


If you are interested in further information about how ELMs affects you then please contact Wilson Wraight