Sustainable Farming Incentive: how the scheme will work in 2022

Sustainable farming incentive details published today 2 December 2021

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silverfox

Member
Location
Shropshire
Sorry to have been slow to reply to this one -
Winter cereals from late October are unlikely to deliver the level of cover required by the 1st December. In order to meet the 70% coverage you could consider adjusting your rotation, sowing cover crops immediately post harvest and moving to spring cropping or, where possible, undersowing the previous crop. It is also worth noting deep peat soils below the moorland line are not eligible for the soils Standards.

Also note you can enter as many or few of your parcels into SFI as you wish, so you could choose a selection that allows you to meet the 70% requirement.
Sorry Janet, but that’s just discounted half of Shropshire, where our most profitable crops are things like spuds, beet, maize followed by wheat that is often plough/ combi drilled well into October or November .
no way are we turning to unprofitable spring cereals or beans to claim a few pounds per acre .
 
Sorry Janet but the flexibility looks to me to be more on Defra's side of the fence, whilst I'm sure we would all appreciate Defra's help in getting back on track unless they can now miraculously encourage slow growing winter barley in a cold autumn to suddenly spurt on then getting back on track sounds more than a little ominous. Either winter cereals qualify or they do not, you cannot have flexible rules depending on the weather & expect farmers to take chances with it!
The flexibility is for farmers, recognising that you don't always get the results you expect depending on weather and other factors, and that your approach will vary depending on where you are, what type of soil you have and what you're growing. We will set this all out in the guidance in the new year that will explain how the flexibility will work.
 
Looking less and less attractive....
Expecting you to grow a spring crop if you can not get drilled early...
Spring crop plus little environment sub probably won't pay as well as ww drilled at best time what don't meet the standards.
Can be a nice dry warm back end.
Or suddenly drop cold and wet.
Looks more and more that this stuff is planned by non farmers who don't understand farming.
Do they know the weather is not under our control...?
The flexibility we are building into the scheme is designed to recognise both the diversity of farms and farm types, and the uncertainty you face eg weather. We'll set this all out in the scheme guidance before we launch the scheme.
 

flowerpot

Member
The only time we have had bare fields was 2 winters ago when it rained all autumn and it was impossible to get on the land to plant anything.
 
We'll launch the service next year, I'll share all the links and info here when we do

This was in reply to question on an Annual health and Welfare review payment.
For livestock or the farmers? 🙄

I really hope that like the RPA payments service, where a link to farming charity (FCN) is included on the web pages these new schemes are more user friendly. That link, IMO is pretty outrageous. A farming charity expected to pick up the pieces of government’s complicated and ever changing schemes.
 

Wombat

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
East yorks
Sorry to have been slow to reply to this one -
Winter cereals from late October are unlikely to deliver the level of cover required by the 1st December. In order to meet the 70% coverage you could consider adjusting your rotation, sowing cover crops immediately post harvest and moving to spring cropping or, where possible, undersowing the previous crop. It is also worth noting deep peat soils below the moorland line are not eligible for the soils Standards.

Also note you can enter as many or few of your parcels into SFI as you wish, so you could choose a selection that allows you to meet the 70% requirement.

So what happens in say 2019 where you plan to pop in winter crops as normal but it rains everyday from Mid sept to about Feb and you get nothing drilled?

Even stubble turnips drilled straight after harvest had about 10% field cover by December as they drowned.
 
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Raider112

Member
Having been in Countryside Stewardship Schemes, Entry level schemes and doing various capital works over the last 20 years I had a lot of enthusiasm for this when it was first aired.
The more I read the more I realise that it's not the sort of thing that the average farmer should be going anywhere near and that's a pity.
 

Clive

Staff Member
NFFN Member
Location
Lichfield
So what happens in say 2019 where you plan to pop in winter crops as normal but it rains everyday from Mid sept to about Feb and you get nothing drilled?

you grow spring cross like we mostly had to in 2019 anyway because of weather, regardless of Defra ? - I think to many see SFI as a sub still to put a bottom in the risk that come with being a farmer like BPS has ........ from everything I have seen so far it is not that

point re cover crops is unless established in august / early September they don't really provide any gain
 

Wombat

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
East yorks
you grow spring cross like we mostly had to in 2019 anyway because of weather, regardless of Defra ? - I think to many see SFI as a sub still to put a bottom in the risk that come with being a farmer like BPS has ........ from everything I have seen so far it is not that

point re cover crops is unless established in august / early September they don't really provide any gain

Agree on spring crops but you won;t have 70% coverage by Dec in2019 at best you would have bare untouched stubble so is their a force majeure as there is not a lot that can be done in years like 2019.

Agree on cover crops and planting date, i was a bit later 10th sept on some vetch and oats and its a £50/ha seed cost alone waste of time this year. However some years wheat isn't fit till early Sept.
 
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Goweresque

Member
Location
North Wilts
Lol, this is the first not very complicated bit of ELMS and its already unravelling in front of our eyes. What looks great on paper in a nice warm office where you clock out at 2:30 on a Friday afternoon doesn't exactly translate into reality on the ground where nature has its own ideas of what humans can and can't achieve at any given time of year on a consistent basis.

And lets not forget SFI is supposed to be controlling everything in UK farming within a few years, I seem to remember figures quoted of at least 70% of all land is expected to be under SFI. So if these is just the problems with the soil standards, imagine what its going to be like trying to integrating 3 or 4 different standards on the same farm and meeting all the artificial deadlines when the weather won't play ball.

And of course the weather doesn't even have to be that bad nationally or even for a particular part of the country, even individual farms to have wildly different weather to others. Look at the Met Office rainfall charts, we can have a dry period and there will still be some part of the country that has a wet one and vice versa. One farm can catch every raincloud going and one 10 miles away can have a drought. UK weather is that weird. Chuck in that Xmm of rain has a very different effect on different soil types and yet they are all supposed to do their farming operations to the same calendar.

Utter madness.
 
You can decide to add more land, standards or levels of ambition each year. At the end of your 3-year agreement you could decide whether to enter into another agreement, and we may change the standards / requirements for new agreements over time. But we wouldn't add or change requirements for you once you've entered into a 3-year agreement.

(We've said something different about this for the pilot - that's because it's a pilot and the whole point of the pilot is to learn and adapt, so we might, in consultation with pilot participants, change things on a more frequent cycle as we learn and want to test ways to solve the issues we find. We're paying pilot participants a learning fee to cover some of the work involved for them in this set of learning and improvement activities.)
So if I farm 500 acres and enter 200 in the first year then rent some more in the second taking my farm to 600 acre and enter the remaining 400 acres that would be allowed
so 200 acres year 1
600 acres year 2
600 acres year 3
thus I can get higher payments in year 2 and 3
 

Tractor Boy

Member
Location
Suffolk
Sorry to have been slow to reply to this one -
Winter cereals from late October are unlikely to deliver the level of cover required by the 1st December. In order to meet the 70% coverage you could consider adjusting your rotation, sowing cover crops immediately post harvest and moving to spring cropping or, where possible, undersowing the previous crop. It is also worth noting deep peat soils below the moorland line are not eligible for the soils Standards.

Also note you can enter as many or few of your parcels into SFI as you wish, so you could choose a selection that allows you to meet the 70% requirement.
I thought I was already doing most of what was required for the intermediate payment already with a lot of spring cropping, cover crops, no til drilling etc. This one post has now worried me. I’m afraid I really do worry who has been advising DEFRA as they quite clearly don’t understand farming practicalities.
 
Sorry Janet, but that’s just discounted half of Shropshire, where our most profitable crops are things like spuds, beet, maize followed by wheat that is often plough/ combi drilled well into October or November .
no way are we turning to unprofitable spring cereals or beans to claim a few pounds per acre .
I managed to drill and establish cover crops every year sinc 2018
2018 drilled early knee high by November a lot of available n early
2019 drilled later looked like they were struggling in October very little available n in the soil very wet by end of January green up during a warm dry spell nitrogen available in January
2020 similar very little n available early
2021 now starting to grow on with available n

all notill drilled on heavy land only established wheat in 2019 was planted before 23 September 2 days after harvest finished
2012 80 % spring crops due to impossible soil conditions
similar 2000 only established 20% winter crops
I have had more poor crops due to wet weather in the autumn from cultivated system than no till
no till need to drill 2 weeks earlier in the autumn in some years that is the day after combineing
 

Hornet

Member
Location
Suffolk
Judging by the reactions from Janet Hughes last few posts, on here and Twitter, the confidence in the dressing room has gone.

Forty quid doesn't add up to incentivise, eg cereal growers, to give up growing their mainstay crops (wheat, barley and osr) by replacing a proportion of them with a crap performing spring crop with the added cost of sowing a cover crop before it, especially when there are associated risks of poorer margins from doing that as well

Back to the drawing board

Get the pilots going and see what problems occur from that, and cancel the SFI soils standard in 2022 before its realized that uptake is going to be woeful
 

ajd132

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Suffolk
I don’t think sub 1000 acre farms are classed as large, your forgetting that some farmers were getting million pounds a year from the RPA, while I have no clue what your farm size is but if you have 400 acres and say the same again rented/leased, depending on the rent cost your paying will affect a lot, and high rents were part of the problems created by the last system, with sub of £90/acre and profits from economies of scale, rents jumped up, farmers were willing to gamble and pay high rents, because the system didn’t cap the payments, so getting the £90/acre payment on as much land as they could get, this encouraged large farms to get larger on artificial profits. While that was not blocked in the old system it’s unlikley to continue in any new system.

all the new system does is cut that off, just like if they used a max cap.

If I were guessing I would say farm size, would not be controlled like your saying, if your profitable operating under the cap then you carry on as normal, but adding extra land via buying it or renting it add zero to the money you get from the RPA if your already at max under the cap.
Once in place farm sizes would adjust to fit the new payment structure.
So it will be less tempting to over pay for rented land because it doesn’t increase you payments if they are already maxed out. if they only get max£50k per year your naturally forced to drop unprofitable land that’s barely economic under the old system never mind the new, you stop renting land with barely a profit to be made, you stop buying land you cannot service the mortgages on and make actual business decisions based on farm and crop profitability not the level of payments you get.

the national average wage in the uk is about £30k the people on income support are on far less, so what justifies any single person receiving more than £30k per year in payments? That’s just supporting a loss making business, while they could do zero work and make £30k? For just owning the land?


if a farm is operating at a loss and cannot make any money over and above the governments payments why is it operating?
Small farm like mine gets far less than the national average wage and it supports my family and my parents. So 2 homes.
We have to make a profit over and above the sub ideally making a matching amount of money as we get in payments. So we can live and invest in the farm.
this is without economies of scale and carrying fully retired parents, that contribute little to no labour, in the running of the farm.

when I talked about incentives it would be for large land owners to offer new entrants access to land If the new entrants were helped to start, then the extra money they get say to help them rent land actually goes to the large land owner, as well it’s not they get advantages access to rental markets. If the new entrant gets anything it’s extra payment per HA. If they chose to use them to rent land or buy equipment that’s up to them, over paying on rents doesn’t strike me as a good plan for new entrants.

So while the large land owner get capped, they then start to get rent income or tenancy incomes from land, if they rent it out.
And a some point the new entrant stops being a new entrant and they have to pay the rent from their own farms income, under the cap scheme. Those paying rent will likely see rent prices fall, as renting land that’s barely profitable becomes less attractive more land at less money become available for those under the cap, or that are farming more profitably.

as for new entrants under cutting, they have zero chance of that, they will be investing, in machinery and stock and buildings for 10 plus years they will have zero chance and ability to undercut existing farmers.

what would you be like if you were starting from nearly scratch? Rents to pay mortgages to pay if they buy land and equipment? You would be begging for every penny of support and most likely having a very hard time of it.

The whole system stops being overly state aided (communist), and actualy becomes more profit driven. (Capitalist)
And we help new entrants, which is actually very important. Capping just let’s more market forces act, on farmers and the choices they make. This is a very capitalist
Very good post an actually echos my thoughts on the ‘state aid’ angle.
 

Clive

Staff Member
NFFN Member
Location
Lichfield
Agree on spring crops but you won;t have 70% coverage by Dec in2019 at best you would have bare untouched stubble so is their a force majeure as there is not a lot that can be done in years like 2019.

Agree on cover crops and planting date, i was a bit later 10th sept on some vetch and oats and its a £50/ha seed cost alone waste of time this year. However some years wheat isn't fit till early Sept.

in 2019 we got our covers in through august and early September, - it was the planed autumn cash crops that in many cases became spring crops due to weather

I guess any scheme should include a force majeure however and previous schemes have historically reacted to extreme situations IIRC
 

midlandslad

Member
Location
Midlands
This is all turning into one very complicated system and we are only talking about the first standard! Considering the debacle of the implementation of the relatively straightforward BPS system, are DEFRA confident that they have the IT systems in place to process this proposal.
 

BrianV

Member
Livestock Farmer
Lol, this is the first not very complicated bit of ELMS and its already unravelling in front of our eyes. What looks great on paper in a nice warm office where you clock out at 2:30 on a Friday afternoon doesn't exactly translate into reality on the ground where nature has its own ideas of what humans can and can't achieve at any given time of year on a consistent basis.

And lets not forget SFI is supposed to be controlling everything in UK farming within a few years, I seem to remember figures quoted of at least 70% of all land is expected to be under SFI. So if these is just the problems with the soil standards, imagine what its going to be like trying to integrating 3 or 4 different standards on the same farm and meeting all the artificial deadlines when the weather won't play ball.

And of course the weather doesn't even have to be that bad nationally or even for a particular part of the country, even individual farms to have wildly different weather to others. Look at the Met Office rainfall charts, we can have a dry period and there will still be some part of the country that has a wet one and vice versa. One farm can catch every raincloud going and one 10 miles away can have a drought. UK weather is that weird. Chuck in that Xmm of rain has a very different effect on different soil types and yet they are all supposed to do their farming operations to the same calendar.

Utter madness.
This whole thing has been drawn up by environmentalists with lip service to actual farmers, it has so many aims & possible outcomes (most of which will never be achieved) it's pretty obvious that monitoring it would be an absolute nightmare, once you start talking of a spy in the sky keeping a watchful eye on everything we are doing then maybe it's time to go back to the drawing board before it's too late!
Simplified scheme?
 
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