Sustainable Farming Incentive: how the scheme will work in 2022

Sustainable farming incentive details published today 2 December 2021

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Two Tone

Member
Mixed Farmer
Morning all

Today we'll be publishing some information about how the sustainable farming incentive will work when we start rolling it out from next year in England.

I'll post the links here as soon as they're online, and will be here on this thread over the next few days to answer your questions about it.

Update:

Here is a link to our programme blog, with links to the documents we've published today and an explanation of what we're doing and why: https://defrafarming.blog.gov.uk/2021/12/02/sfi-standards/

Also:

Here is a direct link to a document setting out how the sustainable farming incentive will work from 2022: https://www.gov.uk/government/publi...ng-incentive-how-the-scheme-will-work-in-2022

Here is a link to a speech George Eustice, Secretary of State, made this morning: https://www.gov.uk/government/speec...tary-speech-at-cla-conference-2-december-2021

And here is a link to a statement in Parliament about progress in delivering our new schemes:
Dear @Janet Hughes Defra ,
Thank you for your help and the various answers you have posted on TFF.
I note that this thread has grown to over 40 pages now.
New schemes such as SFI are a little frightening to many of us, but we must look at them and not be put off by the various sceptical soothsayers.

When SFI was announced earlier in 2021, I was advised that if we are already in a Mid Tier Stewardship Scheme, SFI would not be available to us.


I have 3 questions that I’m sure are highly relevant to many Farmers/Mangers in a very similar situation as me:

This Farm has taken advantage of an MTS agreement which ends on 31/12/21.
It effectively took out 30% of our arable area, it being our worst/least profitable/loss-making arable lands, all of which was put into MTS. It is one of the best things we have ever done here!

We have applied for a new MTS scheme to take over as from 01/01/22 and are awaiting news of its approval.

Apart from moving an area of GS4 (Grass and Legume rich pasture) to another part of the farm, so as not to allow the original area to become designated as PP (Permanent Pasture), all other MTS areas stay the same.


We have also been converting our remaining arable cropped area from a plough based system into Direct-Dilled cereal crops. The idea being to raise SOM by approximately 0.2%/year and all the advantages these will give us as well as to the Environment.

At a meeting I went to recently, I was told that Direct-Drilling does qualify for SFI payments on that arable land, providing that the same land isn’t in our MTS area.

Q1: Is this correct?
Q2: If so, what sort of payment rates would we qualify for?
Q2 a) Our MTS AB9 Winter Bird Food areas are now either replaced annually or biannually by Direct-Drilling. Would these also qualify for SFI?

Also, it is our intention to go into the proper ELMs scheme as and when it fully starts (2024?).
We already know that we could end our MTS early and switch into ELMs, which we will do if or as soon as our gross support income exceeds what the remaining reduced BPS and MTS payments will come to.

Q3: If we have also taken advantage of an SFI agreement as regards our Direct-drilling, will we also be allowed to convert this into ELMs, or will we stuck with the SFI for the full 3 years?

I am sure your answers will help many others in similar situations.

Thanks very much in advance,
@Two Tone.
 
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silverfox

Member
Location
Shropshire
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
Not really talking about establishment method , more the requirement to have 70% of land with ground cover with later drilled wheat not meeting the rules, according to Janet .
maize and beet are often later in October or even a dry November before being harvested .
So, not enough green cover and if it comes to it, not able to be drilled that late with no till drills.
 

silverfox

Member
Location
Shropshire
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
But then you’d fall foul of the 70% of land to have a green cover by autumn .
 

silverfox

Member
Location
Shropshire
I guess in extreme circumstances there would be derogations ? there has been historically with previous schemes I think ?
Would the derogations be regional as we might have a very wet autumn in the west , while dry in the East for instance . It just looks to prescriptive fir very little reward at the moment .
 

silverfox

Member
Location
Shropshire
In our old HLS days, these stubble turnips grown after winter barley , were paid for at a rate of £100/ha . Got similar for overwintered stubbles . And BPS or IACs as it was then, on top 😀
01E987C7-48BE-45C4-B319-95D61B8DAADB.jpeg
 

Vader

Member
Mixed Farmer
@Janet Hughes Defra
Might be worth your gang reading this.


Says 75% of arable land, MAY be ok to DD.
But talks about the problems and fixes, which of course all cost money.
Which I don't think the payments on offer will cover.
 

DrWazzock

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lincolnshire
In our old HLS days, these stubble turnips grown after winter barley , were paid for at a rate of £100/ha . Got similar for overwintered stubbles . And BPS or IACs as it was then, on top 😀View attachment 1001935
Very nice. Do stubble turnips grazed still qualify for SFI? They start off at 100% cover which reduces on a sliding scale from October to March. Must go and move the fence. Nice crop this autumn. Neighbours sheep on them.
 

farmerm

Member
Location
Shropshire
I'm pivoting my business into product and service that is in demand rather than pointlessly trying to continue producing products that are not - the opportunity to be involved in shaping that change is logical to take

I hate subsidies, always have done and the faster we can move away from them the better IMO. cutting them off overnight isn't a viable option for most however, I hope the many issues of previous schemes have been learnt from and I genuinely believe DEFRA are wanting to get this right by farmers.............. AND tax payers
Unlike actual food, the product and service of carbon capture is little more than greenwash for the middle class and will come at considerable cost to the standard of living for the working class. I will of course milk it if and were I can make it work for us but I certainly have no plans to pivot our business to put such "services" at its core, at least not based on current offerings.
 

Wombat

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
East yorks
Not if you drill cover crops after harvest, they will do well in a wet time once established.

But why would you drill cover crops if you plan to drill winter crops? we drilled some crover crops and they unfortunately a bit rubbish. However we planned to drill them, 70% of the rest is winter crops but i wouldn;t waste money ahead of them as they would only have 5 weeks at best to grow, the issue is 2019 as its too late for anything when the weather changed leaving you 70% uncovered by weather alone.
 

Humble Village Farmer

Member
NFFN Member
Location
Cb97ej
Very nice. Do stubble turnips grazed still qualify for SFI? They start off at 100% cover which reduces on a sliding scale from October to March. Must go and move the fence. Nice crop this autumn. Neighbours sheep on them.
You might have to add another couple of species to the turnips to create a mix. Unfortunately I suspect they will have restrictive grazing rules without considering the sheep man's needs of feeding every day after the grass runs out in November. Pity, because it ticks so many regenerative boxes and is economical to do.

Up till now if you took the king's shilling for cover crops, you weren't allowed to graze within the rules till the 15th of Jan or Feb 1st (not absolutely sure about that but I remember thinking that's put the kybosh on it).
 

ajd132

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Suffolk
@Janet Hughes Defra
Might be worth your gang reading this.


Says 75% of arable land, MAY be ok to DD.
But talks about the problems and fixes, which of course all cost money.
Which I don't think the payments on offer will cover.
I would suggest that many grass roots farmers are light years ahead of what companies like Agrii can offer in terms of experience and advice.
 

ajd132

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Suffolk
Plus Agrii have a vested interest in it not working.
I am very wary of any trials and advice from these companies. They are also trying to capitalise on all this with very expensive software and soil sampling packagers which are in reality pretty useless data collection.
they do some interesting stuff but always needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. I prefer seeing what actual farmers are doing.
 

Clive

Staff Member
NFFN Member
Location
Lichfield
I would suggest that many grass roots farmers are light years ahead of what companies like Agrii can offer in terms of experience and advice.

echo this @Janet Hughes Defra these big ag input companies have spent the last decade or more actively trying to hold back Regen ag in my experience - systems that sell less bags and bottles make no sense to them commercially, some have actively "blackballed" farmers like myself in the past from supply

All of a sudden in a world of SFI they become the goto experts, copy and pasting ideas and advice others innovated to perfect, they even ask idiots like me to help them would you believe !

Almost sickening to hear and ironic to see them all now wanting in now Regen is clearly the direction of travel. There are far better ways to help farmers INDEPENDENTLY, number one being facilitation of direct farmer to farmer knowledge exchange, the experts ARE the farmers, not the agents or input suppliers

DEFRA need to understand the magnitude of this level of leaching form agents and supply trade and help / support farmers directly. Please don't cozy up to the leaches of this industry, farmers have really had enough of them now and are desperately trying to break the monopolistic hold they have over input supply. DEFRA could actually make a BIG difference to farmers bottom lines by helping with this, probably more valuable support than SFI payments IMO ! ....... I'm happy to discuss that last bit offline if you would like to
 

Mixedupfarmer

Member
Location
Norfolk
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 .
And Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, much of Norfolk and Suffolk….
 

ajd132

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Suffolk
And Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, much of Norfolk and Suffolk….
It’s not a subsidy though, it’s a payment to achieve outcomes desired by the powers that be. If you cannot deliver those outcomes within your business or rotation then don’t do it, most of the people on here are saying it’s naff all money anyway so leave it.
 

Clive

Staff Member
NFFN Member
Location
Lichfield
Unlike actual food, the product and service of carbon capture is little more than greenwash for the middle class and will come at considerable cost to the standard of living for the working class. I will of course milk it if and were I can make it work for us but I certainly have no plans to pivot our business to put such "services" at its core, at least not based on current offerings.

It's not all about carbon - there is absolutely no doubt (and plenty of evidence). that Regen Ag has created huge ecosystem gain on our farm over the last 15years, SOM and soil biology increased , water quality les erosion / nutrient leaching, insects and larger wildlife are FAR more abundant than they used to be

re Carbon - increasing SOM reduces CO2 in the atmosphere, that's a fact that can not be argued with, if you increase the C in soil it has come form somewhere, its not magic
 
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