SFI Pilot questions / thoughts

Clive

Staff Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Lichfield
I’m sure we are not the only farm on TFF currently trying to understand and prepare an SFI application so I thought a thread to discuss and make sense of options maybe a good idea ? Have to say not finding the help line too helpful so far !

hows anyone else getting on a d what standards / levels will you be applying for ?
 

delilah

Member
It's all a complete dogs breakfast. The fact that some of the options changed beyond recognition within a few weeks, shows just how unsure Defra are as to what they want and how to achieve it.

Anyway, one specific issue: On the grassland options it wants you to increase species diversity. Over a 10 year agreement, doable, but over a 2 (?) year pilot what will you achieve ? Unsure on how the short term pilots can assist in testing long term objectives.
 

delilah

Member
Soil organic matter.
1) Objective:. Raise it, or maintain it ?
2) Proof: The guidance says to dig a soil pit and carry out a visual assessment. Really ? This is taxpayers money, with lots of 000's on the end.
 

Clive

Staff Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Lichfield
i can’t decide if % of features in say arable standard can also be included for example water course standard or are they additional % ? if not a decent scheme that covers 3 or 4 standards at advanced level could take half our area out of production / thats too much

also not sure they are even close to income forgone ? - if not uptake is going to be VERY minimal

i hope they can get this right as the principle is good
 
i can’t decide if % of features in say arable standard can also be included for example water course standard or are they additional % ? if not a decent scheme that covers 3 or 4 standards at advanced level could take half our area out of production / thats too much

also not sure they are even close to income forgone ? - if not uptake is going to be VERY minimal

i hope they can get this right as the principle is good

I am in Mid Tier I don't have to understand it right now, so have kept putting it off, but I was half way through doing a costing for the different standards. My quick go at it made SFI look pretty unfavourable. I.e. if you add up the Mid Tier type options and cost those at Mid Tier rates, then subtract that off the SFI payment rates, you are left with not much to cover all the extra things they want you to do. The bit I haven't done is to do a guesstimate of the costs of these extras. Must get round to finishing off my spreadsheet.
 

rusty

Member
I am intensive dairy Grassland with some cereals for whole crop silage. We rotational graze and direct drill a lot of the grass to grass reseeds so I thought I would be good for the improved grasslands standards. The middle layer requires first cut at the end of May and subsequent cuts at 8 week minimum intervals which is a complete non starter as we rely heavily on making high quality multi cut silage at 5 week intervals. The lowest tier at £27/ha just is not worth it for all the form filling and having to almost abandon 2% of my very productive land.
I think we could probably get the highest tiers of the Grassland soils and arable soils parts of the scheme but feel the recording could be a nightmare as a lot of our grass goes from 'temporary' to 'permanent' at 5 years old only to go to whole crop winter wheat for 2 years a few years later.
 

Jo28

Member
Location
East Yorks
i can’t decide if % of features in say arable standard can also be included for example water course standard or are they additional % ? if not a decent scheme that covers 3 or 4 standards at advanced level could take half our area out of production / thats too much

also not sure they are even close to income forgone ? - if not uptake is going to be VERY minimal

i hope they can get this right as the principle is good
The payment rates looked to me to be a joke and nowhere near income forgone so have just ignored attempting to understand it.
 
Ditch management in some of the standards. Think it's in the intermediate level for arable land, therefore can't move to higher level unless you agree to intermediate level.

Sime farms might not have any ditches, so don't have to do anything to get the cash.

Thise with ditches need to manage them as per the prescription. These ditches may take neighbours water, and so farmer is obliged to keep them clean. This might prevent farmer claimingboth intermediate and higher level.

I think the whole thing (SFI) is a dogs dinner. Overly complex and payment rates too low.

Best thing would be for no one to do the pilot. Then RPA may realise they're aaking for too much and paying too little.

Doesn't seem to do much more than cover cost of adhering to the standards.
 

farmerfred86

Member
BASIS
Location
Suffolk
"We will adopt a principle of no double payments. This means we will not pay someone for doing a land management action if they are also being paid for doing the same thing in the same place under another government scheme (such as Countryside Stewardship). We are also considering how this might extend to people receiving payments under a private arrangement, such as carbon trading or biodiversity net gain credits."

Thats an interesting statement right there!
 

ajd132

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Suffolk
"We will adopt a principle of no double payments. This means we will not pay someone for doing a land management action if they are also being paid for doing the same thing in the same place under another government scheme (such as Countryside Stewardship). We are also considering how this might extend to people receiving payments under a private arrangement, such as carbon trading or biodiversity net gain credits."

Thats an interesting statement right there!
Certainly is. Will be interesting to see what they decide.
 

Wombat

Member
Location
East yorks
Ditch management in some of the standards. Think it's in the intermediate level for arable land, therefore can't move to higher level unless you agree to intermediate level.

Sime farms might not have any ditches, so don't have to do anything to get the cash.

Thise with ditches need to manage them as per the prescription. These ditches may take neighbours water, and so farmer is obliged to keep them clean. This might prevent farmer claimingboth intermediate and higher level.

I think the whole thing (SFI) is a dogs dinner. Overly complex and payment rates too low.

Best thing would be for no one to do the pilot. Then RPA may realise they're aaking for too much and paying too little.

Doesn't seem to do much more than cover cost of adhering to the standards.

Exactly there are some blockers for some that stops them going to the next level (the ditch one would certainly be an issue here) and its not worth bothering for the basic one if thats all we can do.
 
Location
Devon
Payment rates are so low that the scheme is not worth bothering with and every farmer should refuse to join in the trials untill they bring in sensible payment rates!

BPS is around £90 acre so if they want farmers to cut/ lower production on their land then payment rates need to be double the current BPS rate to cover both income forgone and the massive red tape burden of the new scheme.

I read the other week that for the average 200 acre family farm it will cost £6/7000 in agents fees for the first year to join the scheme as the rules stand, so you spend 7k in agents fees, lose of income v production is another £10,000 for the 200 acre farm so factor in both these and the farmers management time of say another 3k it will cost the 200 acre farm 20k to be in the scheme, what will they get in payments? 5/7k at best.... total non starter for all but the big farms..

NFU estimate that at least 25/30% of farmers will be forced out of the industry when elms comes in and they think that is acceptable so thus are backing the new elms scheme.... you could not make it up if you tried!
 

4course

Member
Location
north yorks
had a chat with a land agent along the lines of .As a tenant farmer would you like me to join these schemes with landlords consent and reduce the value of your clients land holdings or would you prefer to reduce the rent. jaw dropped no answer ,so then aked how much is newly created from productive land .bog ,shrubland ,weed infested pp ,worth ,still no answer but at least he offered to buy the next round at which point my ...jaw dropped
 

delilah

Member
Laudable effort @Clive :ROFLMAO: . Seeing as we're already onto pointing out the fundamental flaws, I'm just going to take another opportunity to say what I have said from day 1 it should look like and why.
 

Attachments

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Speculative coverage on the gene editing consultation response

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Speculative coverage on the gene editing consultation response

Written by Defra Press Office

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There has been coverage today in the I and the Guardian, reporting on speculation around the upcoming government response to the recent Gene Editing consultation, which closed on 17th March.

A full government response, which will include a thorough analysis and summary of the responses to the consultation and which will set out our next steps, will be published in due course.

Gene editing has the ability to harness the genetic resources that mother nature has provided, such as breeding...
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