Sustainable Farming Incentive: how the scheme will work in 2022

Sustainable farming incentive details published today 2 December 2021

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BrianV

Member
Livestock Farmer
Starting out on my own with very little was exactly what pushed me into this type of farming. Obviously I was very nervous with not much proper experience of cropping. There weren't any 2nd hand direct drills so I bought a new one for £23k and hired a neighbour's tractor. Does that answer the question?
Not sure how long ago that was but £23K would have seemed an awful lot of money for a drill when I started, do you think ELMS will make it easier or harder for youngsters to now get started?
 

steveR

Member
Mixed Farmer
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?
I have along with others, have being pushing for a "simple scheme" since we started getting a flavour of what might be on the way. What seems to be on offer is already a complete hotchpotch. I consider myself experienced in applying for and managing enviro schemes, but sadly, what looks as if it will be on offer, appears a recipie for chaos at present

I spoke with Janet Hughes and the DEFRA people at Groundswell and said the same then. KISS... The only way!
 
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farmerm

Member
Location
Shropshire
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
Yes its from carbon in the atmosphere but its not recent carbon from fossil fuel emissions, building soil carbon can not start to offset fossil carbon emissions without first putting back the carbon oxidised from that soil during the previous 150 years of farming! Building soil carbon in, lets say a loam field in the midlands, can not offset fossil carbon emissions whilst tilling a field in the fens is oxidising an equivalent amount of carbon. Like you say, its not magic, its math.
 

Humble Village Farmer

Member
NFFN Member
Location
Cb97ej
Not sure how long ago that was but £23K would have seemed an awful lot of money for a drill when I started, do you think ELMS will make it easier or harder for youngsters to now get started?
Would say it cost about the same as 2 acres, so you can work back from that to see if I have been wasting money on a system which establishes crops for around 4 litres of diesel per ha.
 

Clive

Staff Member
NFFN Member
Location
Lichfield
Yes its from carbon in the atmosphere but its not recent carbon from fossil fuel emissions, building soil carbon can not start to offset fossil carbon emissions without first putting back the carbon oxidised from that soil during the previous 150 years of farming! Building soil carbon in, lets say a loam field in the midlands, can not offset fossil carbon emissions whilst tilling a field in the fens is oxidising an equivalent amount of carbon. Like you say, its not magic, its math.

carbon is carbon - i'm not sure the value of sequestration has anything to do with when the C was released to atmpohere

Scientific fact seem to be the more we can pull it out of our atmosphere the better, how we farm can change help and is a in demand service worthy of reward
 

Humble Village Farmer

Member
NFFN Member
Location
Cb97ej
Our after harvest is later though , with roots and maize .
lots of people , especially down south, think harvest is over in august . Imagine trying to get cover crops drilled in the north of England
I realise harvest is later in the north, but even down here we would try and drill wheat into that rather than pee about with cover crops, I can't really understand why you would want to?
 

BrianV

Member
Livestock Farmer
I realise harvest is later in the north, but even down here we would try and drill wheat into that rather than pee about with cover crops, I can't really understand why you would want to?
We combine our winter barley in late July early August & till again in the middle of Sept, we then have to spray with insecticides to keep on top of aphids, seems perverse that we are on the one hand told to till winter cereals later to avoid aphids & using insecticide but it then will not pass greening regulations.
Do we now drill earlier & use far more insecticides just to satisfy Defra's ideas of greening & ecology!
 

two-cylinder

Member
Location
Cambridge
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.
Janet, can you please explain: 'It is also worth noting deep peat soils below the moorland line are not eligible for the soils standard"?
Moorland line?
 
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Clive

Staff Member
NFFN Member
Location
Lichfield
Has @Clive devised this scheme ? seems almost purpose built for him and a bit of a pain for everyone else :scratchhead: :scratchhead:

there is a lot that doesn't suit me actually and a lot I don't like the look off, there are also bit that do make sense for us

We have cut a lot form our pilot scheme that we could easy do and would like to but the income forgone and costs of the actions don't get close to income forgone so I am not doing them and intend to feed back that reason why. What we will review will not be a lot really, certainly nothing like our BPS cheque.

To be brutally honest and after a lot of debate we very nearly didn't submit our pilot application

I think / hope when we see replacement CSS there will maybe more that could suit maybe and pay more (for doing more of course)

My mindset is different here though I think - I have accepted subs are gone, do not expect SFI to replace them so see anything I can get from it as a bonus.

I started taking the action required to not have a business dependant upon sub over a decade ago, this day was always coming and survival was always going to be about structuring fixed costs or diversification etc to cope with that
 
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We should all remember that the pot of money is not being reduced just distributed with a different system
just have to learn the system

also remember that 100 years ago the government stopped supporting farmers pulling the rug from under them compleetly
the money is still the there as above we just have to learn how to access it
if cropping and farming pays more then get on with cropping and farming
 

Humble Village Farmer

Member
NFFN Member
Location
Cb97ej
We combine our winter barley in late July early August & till again in the middle of Sept, we then have to spray with insecticides to keep on top of aphids, seems perverse that we are on the one hand told to till winter cereals later to avoid aphids & using insecticide but it then will not pass greening regulations.
Do we now drill earlier & use far more insecticides just to satisfy Defra's ideas of greening & ecology!
I thought you were discussing the problem of drilling after maize or roots? I don't quite see what you mean with this post?
 

bobk

Member
Location
stafford
there is a lot that doesn't suit me actually and a lot I don't like the look off, there are also bit that do make sense for us

We have cut a lot form our pilot scheme that we could easy do and would like to but the income forgone and costs of the actions don't get close to income forgone so I am not doing them and intend to feed back that reason why. What we will review will not be a lot really, certainly nothing like our BPS cheque.

To be brutally honest and after a lot of debate we very nearly didn't submit our pilot application

I think / hope when we see replacement CSS there will maybe more that could suit maybe and pay more (for doing more of course)

My mindset is different here though I think - I have accepted subs are gone, do not expect SFI to replace them so see anything I can get from it as a bonus.

I started taking the action required to not have a business dependant upon sub over a decade ago, this day was always coming and survival was always going to be about structuring fixed costs or diversification etc to cope with that
I have no issues with the motives of the scheme , but , where's the money , from what I can see it's not worth getting out of bed for
 

BrianV

Member
Livestock Farmer
I thought you were discussing the problem of drilling after maize or roots? I don't quite see what you mean with this post?
Janet informed us that winter cereals would only qualify as greening if well established & advanced, with cereal seed treatment for control of aphids now withdrawn because the flowers on corn stalks attracting bees we are forced to control barley yellow dwarf virus from aphids by spraying the barley with insecticide there by killing all insects.
If we now drill later to avoid the aphids infecting the corn it will then not qualify as greening, seems counter productive!
 

ajd132

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Suffolk
there is a lot that doesn't suit me actually and a lot I don't like the look off, there are also bit that do make sense for us

We have cut a lot form our pilot scheme that we could easy do and would like to but the income forgone and costs of the actions don't get close to income forgone so I am not doing them and intend to feed back that reason why. What we will review will not be a lot really, certainly nothing like our BPS cheque.

To be brutally honest and after a lot of debate we very nearly didn't submit our pilot application

I think / hope when we see replacement CSS there will maybe more that could suit maybe and pay more (for doing more of course)

My mindset is different here though I think - I have accepted subs are gone, do not expect SFI to replace them so see anything I can get from it as a bonus.

I started taking the action required to not have a business dependant upon sub over a decade ago, this day was always coming and survival was always going to be about structuring fixed costs or diversification etc to cope with that
We started down the route which is favoured by this scheme before even brexit happend because we thought it was the right thing to do financially for our business, it’s been a slow process with lots of knowledge and experience gathered over that time.
The key is make it work allowing maximisation of income from cropping by keeping yields stead/slowly reducing inputs, monetising SFI and private carbon/natural capital markets whilst also gaining from the significantly lower overheads such a system entails.
in our experience the only time yields have been lower is because myself, the manager of the system has made errors due to lack of knowledge or experience. It’s very seldom any system is to blame for a poor performance. Accountability is incredibly important and something that is seriously lacking within this industry it appears.
 

Clive

Staff Member
NFFN Member
Location
Lichfield
I have no issues with the motives of the scheme , but , where's the money , from what I can see it's not worth getting out of bed for

it was promised to cover income forgone at minimum - if it does that then it will work, if it doesn't uptake will be by philanthropist only ! (not many of them running farms !)

Pilot falls short re income forgone on many of the standards for me and my farm is hardly grade 1 12t wheat land is it ! - this is the big challenge and unless they start talking money from the other tiers of ELMS (which seem to benefit the large and institutional landowners who really don't need public money IMO) I don't know how they will square that

I've ask @Janet Hughes Defra about this income forgone issue in all the Q&A's we have done and the assurance has always been SFI will cover it, I don't know where they are going to find that ££ from however unless something gives
 

silverfox

Member
Location
Shropshire
We started down the route which is favoured by this scheme before even brexit happend because we thought it was the right thing to do financially for our business, it’s been a slow process with lots of knowledge and experience gathered over that time.
The key is make it work allowing maximisation of income from cropping by keeping yields stead/slowly reducing inputs, monetising SFI and private carbon/natural capital markets whilst also gaining from the significantly lower overheads such a system entails.
in our experience the only time yields have been lower is because myself, the manager of the system has made errors due to lack of knowledge or experience. It’s very seldom any system is to blame for a poor performance. Accountability is incredibly important and something that is seriously lacking within this industry it appears.
You’ve achieved this by farming 1000s of acres though , which is fair play to you. But where does this leave the many smaller farms who are set up with paid for systems, like ploughs and combi drills , who don’t justify spending 1000s on direct drills . If the top tier and the better payments rely on no till, then the mixed family farms are going to be yet again disadvantaged.
 
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