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CAP Reform and Greening – what it means for growers

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DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) has recently published a number of guidance papers on CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) reform and Greening – including the Greening: Work out what it means for you leaflet. Whilst there are still some areas to be decided on, the position regarding Miscanthus is clear. Read on to find out how the recent developments affect growers.

Basic Payment: Under the new scheme, Miscanthus will be eligible for Basic Payment as a Permanent Crop.

Greening Measures: There are three Greening Measures that apply to England: Crop Diversification, Ecological Focus Areas and Permanent Grassland

Crop Diversification:

This applies if you have 10ha or more of arable land (including land cultivated for crop production, fallow land and temporary grassland, but excluding Permanent Crops)

  • Miscanthus is classified as a Permanent Crop, so falls outside the arable land definition
  • Miscanthus is not eligible as one of the 3 crops required on holdings with an arable area of more than 30ha (or one of the 2 crops required on farms with an arable area of between 10ha and 30ha)
  • If you have less than 10ha of arable land, Crop Diversification measures do not apply

Ecological Focus Area (EFA):

  • Areas planted with Miscanthus do not count as part of the 5% of arable land that must be set aside as an EFA
  • If you have less than 15ha of arable land, the EFA measures do not apply

Permanent Grassland:

  • This measure states that the overall area of permanent grassland in England must not fall by more than 5%. It does not appear to restrict change on individual holdings, and there are no published remedial measures yet
  • Miscanthus is a Permanent Crop, but is not Permanent Grassland

Key Trigger Areas

Arable Land Area

Crop Diversification *

Ecological Focus Area *

Less than 10 ha No No
10ha+, but below 15ha Yes, at least 2 arable crops No
15ha+, but below 30ha Yes, at least 2 arable crops Yes, min 5% arable land area
30ha+ Yes, at least 3 arable crops Yes, min 5% arable land area

* Exemptions may apply (see here)

How do Crop Diversification and EFA measures affect Miscanthus growers?

If you have more than 10-15ha of arable land (in addition to areas planted with Miscanthus) thenthe new scheme rules will apply to this arable area.Your Miscanthus area will not count towards either of the schemes

  • If your whole farm is planted with Miscanthus, or you have less than 10ha of arable land in addition to your Miscanthus, the greening measures do not apply – and, if otherwise eligible, you will receive the full Basic Payment
  • If your arable area is at, or just above, one of the key trigger areas (10ha, 15ha or 30ha – see table above), you may wish to consider planting more Miscanthus to bring your total arable land below the key trigger areasIf you have any questions about Greening developments or any other aspect of Miscanthus growing, please get in touch with Terravesta today.

The above information is intended for guidance only; it is based on, and should be read in conjunction with, information published in DEFRA’s Greening leaflet on 9th June 2014 and may be subject to change. Before making any commitment, financial or otherwise, growers should always make themselves aware of the most recent information on the DEFRA website and seek relevant professional advice.