Sustainable Farming Incentive Update
Wed 21 Jun 2023
After a long wait the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) have finally announced more details on the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) today (21.06.2023), an update that is long overdue as many people have been waiting for details to decide on how to progress with their own agri-environmental schemes.
Schemes will last for three years, with opportunities to apply for the next set of standards when they are published in 2024. Payments under the scheme will be paid in quarterly instalments with the first payment made four months after your agreement starts. The SFI 2023 offer now includes a management payment of £20/ha for the first 50 ha included in a SFI agreement.
There are a mix of rotational and static options with the possibility of varying the coverage of the rotational options, so they work with your crop rotation and different sizes of parcels. You can increase and decrease your areas - as long as it’s within 50% of the original area applied for.
All SFI applications for the arable and horticultural soil standard are now closed and this standard will not be included going forwards. The old arable and horticultural soil standard was a percentage cover option, with strict rules about overlap.
Anyone with an existing SFI scheme or who have previously applied for the arable and horticultural soil standard will be contacted by Defra to ensure that they do not lose out, but the RPA have not explained what this means.
The new Soils standard offers more flexibility with other agri-environmental scheme overlap, meaning you can receive payment for SAM1 to overlap with some options under Countryside Stewardship (CSS). In general, the payment rates for all SFI options are very similar to the equivalent options under CSS.
The options you can apply for under the SFI 2023 are listed in the table below, it is also indicated if they can be rotational or static and whole or part parcel.
If you have any questions about the Sustainable Farming Incentive, it’s interactions with other schemes or Countryside Stewardship please contact your local Brown&Co office.
|Standard||Option code||Option||Annual payment||Rotational
|Actions for Soils||SAM1||Assess soil, test soil organic matter and produce a soil management plan||£5.80 per hectare and an additional payment of £95 per agreement||Static||Whole parcel|
|SAM2||Multi-species winter cover crops||£129 per hectare||Both||Both|
|SAM3||Herbal leys||£382 per hectare||Both||Both|
|Actions for Moorlands||MOR1||Assess moorland and produce a written record||£10.30 per hectare and an additional payment of £265 per agreement||Static||Whole parcel|
|Actions for Hedgerows||HRW1||Assess and record hedgerow||£3 per 100 metres - one||Static||N/A|
|HRW2||Manage hedgerows||£10 per 100 metres - one side||Static||N/A|
|HRW3||Maintain or establish hedgerow trees||£10 per 100 metres - both sides||Static||N/A|
|Actions for integrated pest management||IPM1||Assess integrated pest management and produce a plan||£989 per year||N/A||N/A|
|IPM2||Flower-rich grass margins, blocks, or infield strips||£673 per hectare||Both||Both|
|IPM3||Companion crop on arable and horticultural land||£55 per hectare||Both||Both|
|IPM4||No use of insecticide on arable crops and permanent crops||£45 per hectare||Both||Whole parcel|
|Actions for nutrient management||NUM1||Assess nutrient management and produce a review report||£589 per year||N/A||N/A|
|NUM2||Legumes on improved grassland||£102 per hectare||Both||Both|
|NUM3||Legume fallow||£593 per hectare||Static||Both|
|Actions for farmland wildlife on arable and horticultural land||AHL1||Pollen and nectar flower mix||£614 per hectare||Static||Both|
|AHL2||Winter bird food on arable and horticultural land||£732 per hectare||Both||Both|
|AHL3||Grassy field corners and blocks||£590 per hectare||Static||Both|
|Actions for farmland wildlife on improved grassland||IGL1||Take grassland field corners or blocks out of management||£333 per hectare||Static||Both|
|IGL2||Winter bird food on improved grassland||£474 per hectare||Both||Both|
|Actions for buffer strips||AHL4||4m to 12m grass buffer strip on arable and horticultural land||£451 per hectare||Static||Both|
|IGL3||4m to 12m grass buffer strip on improved grassland||£235 per hectare||Static||Both|
|Actions for low input grassland||LIG1||Manage grassland with very low nutrient inputs (outside SDAs)||£151 per hectare||Static||Only total SFI available area, unless done with IGL1|
|LIG2||Manage grassland with very low nutrient inputs (SDAs)||£151 per hectare||Static||Only total SFI available area, unless done with IGL1|
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