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Policy Reform in the Arable Sector on Soil Management, Level of Inputs, Cropping Diversity and Biodiversity Improvements

25 May 2023

This article is produced as a part of the FAS Crops & Soils Bulletin. Subscribe now to receive the full report in your inbox monthly.

In February this year Scottish Government published their Agricultural Reform Route Map, a document aimed at informing farmers as to the thinking behind the shaping the new support framework from 2025 and giving greater clarity on key dates and the various measures being proposed.

Whilst the Route Map does not yet answer all the questions about the new support framework or provide the detail of how measures will be applied and what applicants will be paid, it does provide a clear set of programme dates to explain when current schemes will transition or end, and when more guidance, support and information will become available. It is summarised in the infographic below:

Crop Bulletin Table

The current Region model within BPS will be reviewed although it is planned to remain in place in the early stages of the transition. New conditions will be introduced in the 2025 SAF year integrating conditionality on half of all funding  and in 2026 the BPS scheme will end splitting into Base and Enhanced Support

New conditions will also be introduced in 2025 to Voluntary Coupled Support (suckler beef and upland sheep schemes). It will continue in 2026 but be reviewed thereafter. Much the same can be said about the LFAS Scheme. The Government have said that by July this year we should have further information on the new conditions for BPS and VCS pertaining to 2025.

In 2026 New Enhanced Support (Tier 2 of the new funding) is launched directly rewarding those delivering on the climate and nature objectives

Crops Bulletin 2

Earlier this year Scottish Government also released its ‘List of Measures’ being considered and evaluated for inclusion for future agriculture support and intended to provide some more information on the types of activities you will be expected to do in future. Interestingly but not surprisingly those applicable to the arable sector for fields under cultivation include 3 ‘Packages’:

Package: Continuous Soil Cover

  • Measure: Winter cover
  • Measure: Minimum/No Tillage

 Package: Efficient / Reduced use of synthetic inputs

  • Measure: Efficient / Reduced use of inorganic fertilisers and lime
  • Measure: Efficient / Reduced use of synthetic pesticides
  • Measure: Use of N fixing crops

Package: Crop Diversity – arable

  • Measure: Diversify crop rotation and break crop rotation period (esp. for root crop)
  • Measure: Inter-cropping, under-cropping and mixed cropping (e.g. peas and barley) and avoid monoculture
  • Measure: Arable/ley rotations (transition from arable to arable/livestock mix)
  • Measure: Biodiversity cropping and silvo-arable systems
  • Measure: Silvo-arable systems

Further Packages cover in-field margins and uncultivated permanent habitats, full details can be found here:

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