Fertiliser on Countryside Stewardship Options

We signed up for a new 5 year Mid Tier agreement which should start this January. I'm annoyed that I have yet to hear from RPA that I have been accepted but that's another story!

Some of our CS Options require fertiliser to be applied at a specific rate (AB9 for example requires 50Kg N/ha). With the cost of fertiliser increasing dramatically the increased cost of this fertliser over 5 years is considerable. I feel this needs to be addressed. Does anyone else feel the same? One letter to the RPA from a single farmer isn't going to make a bit of difference but if many of us wrote combined with pressure from NFU, etc it *might* make a difference.

I would be interested to get some feedback on this please
 

Flat 10

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Fen Edge
We signed up for a new 5 year Mid Tier agreement which should start this January. I'm annoyed that I have yet to hear from RPA that I have been accepted but that's another story!

Some of our CS Options require fertiliser to be applied at a specific rate (AB9 for example requires 50Kg N/ha). With the cost of fertiliser increasing dramatically the increased cost of this fertliser over 5 years is considerable. I feel this needs to be addressed. Does anyone else feel the same? One letter to the RPA from a single farmer isn't going to make a bit of difference but if many of us wrote combined with pressure from NFU, etc it *might* make a difference.

I would be interested to get some feedback on this please
I think this is an example of creeping standards year on year. I believe (though I might be wrong) that this was recommended rather than compulsory in the past. I notice several other bits and pieces have definitely changed.
 

Robin2020

Member
Livestock Farmer
If its anything like their capital items, they will want to see receipts and photos!! When inspected they may ask for evidence too...
 

T Hectares

Member
Location
Berkshire
Not a requirement, this is copied from the guidance…
I’ve never used anything other Glyphosate on my AB9’s


Additional guidance and advice
The following advice is helpful but they are not requirements for this item

Managing the option
Apply nitrogen at a minimum of 50 kilograms (kg) per ha to create sufficient growth to smother annual weeds and produce plenty of seed. You can use herbicides in some winter bird food mixes, check with a BASIS-qualified agronomist. Rotate this option to a new site of clean ground if weed problems start to build up.

Winter bird food should be in place until at least 31 December in year 5 of the agreement
 

Phil P

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
North West
As above, it’s only guidance no need to actually apply any. I spread a bit on our ab9 last year to empty the spreader (only one tramline) couldn’t tell any difference.
 

Grass And Grain

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Yorks
As above, it’s only guidance no need to actually apply any. I spread a bit on our ab9 last year to empty the spreader (only one tramline) couldn’t tell any difference.
Our AB9 borders some wheat fields last year. Much more vigorous growth where the N had fallen onto edge of AB9 patch.

That said, by early Sept you couldn't see any difference.

Going to put a bit of vetch in with the seed mix this year. Should provide some natural N. And a bit of phacelia to help smother out weeds (hope it doesn't smother the AB9!!). Need to get seed rates correct, but this last summer's AB1 with phacelia will give me a clue as to the optimal amount of phacelia seed.
 

Andy26

Moderator
Arable Farmer
Location
Northants
I didn't put any fertiliser on my AB9 last year and it looked fine, plan to use the last of my on farm N up tomorrow, would you put N on?
It is only guidance?

Our AB9 borders some wheat fields last year. Much more vigorous growth where the N had fallen onto edge of AB9 patch.

That said, by early Sept you couldn't see any difference.

Going to put a bit of vetch in with the seed mix this year. Should provide some natural N. And a bit of phacelia to help smother out weeds (hope it doesn't smother the AB9!!). Need to get seed rates correct, but this last summer's AB1 with phacelia will give me a clue as to the optimal amount of phacelia seed.
I've plenty of AB15 seed left, would some Vetch and clovers added in hurt?
 
We signed up for a new 5 year Mid Tier agreement which should start this January. I'm annoyed that I have yet to hear from RPA that I have been accepted but that's another story!

Some of our CS Options require fertiliser to be applied at a specific rate (AB9 for example requires 50Kg N/ha). With the cost of fertiliser increasing dramatically the increased cost of this fertliser over 5 years is considerable. I feel this needs to be addressed. Does anyone else feel the same? One letter to the RPA from a single farmer isn't going to make a bit of difference but if many of us wrote combined with pressure from NFU, etc it *might* make a difference.

I would be interested to get some feedback on this please

If you are wanting to put fertiliser on these options and spend hundreds establishing them then I’d suggest you pull out of the scheme as it'll loose you money.
 
We have always put fertiliser on our AB9 as I thought it was part of the prescription. The RPA required records to to be kept and everything so I wasn't going to risk not doing it! I have learnt from this thread (thanks everyone) that it's not a requirement. Not planted ours yet as it's too dry but haven't decided whether to go ahead with fert or not. It won't be getting full rate at current prices!
 

Andy26

Moderator
Arable Farmer
Location
Northants
We have always put fertiliser on our AB9 as I thought it was part of the prescription. The RPA required records to to be kept and everything so I wasn't going to risk not doing it! I have learnt from this thread (thanks everyone) that it's not a requirement. Not planted ours yet as it's too dry but haven't decided whether to go ahead with fert or not. It won't be getting full rate at current prices!
Not planted mine either, seedbed ready to go, need some decent rain forecast before.

I didn't put any fert on last years AB9 and it grew nicely, imo using artificial inputs on stewardship plots goes somewhat against the spirit.
 

Hindsight

Member
Location
Lincolnshire
Not planted mine either, seedbed ready to go, need some decent rain forecast before.

I didn't put any fert on last years AB9 and it grew nicely, imo using artificial inputs on stewardship plots goes somewhat against the spirit.
Hi, if i recall fertilisers where specifically excluded from early stewardship schemes. But research at game conservancy loddington farm demonstrated addiction of a small amount of nitrogen could lead to enhanced growth and thus better winter feeding for birds. And thus later stewardship schemes included the allowed option to use fertilisers. Cheers
 

Minesapint

Member
Location
Oxon
If you are wanting to put fertiliser on these options and spend hundreds establishing them then I’d suggest you pull out of the scheme as it'll loose you money.
I suppose it really depends if you are just out for the money or not. I have 14 ha’s of AB9, and I am more than happy to spend on a nice seed mix, and a bit of fert, as I get a huge amount of pleasure in seeing the vast array of birds and insects it attracts.
 

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