Recent reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy have raised the profile of environmental management. Although the new approach – known as 'greening' – applies to all 28 member states, the details of how greening applies vary from country to country. The one certainty is that a farm will lose up to 30% of its subsidy if it doesn't meet the greening criteria in full. The actual amount lost depends on the level of non-compliance.
Greening is an approach to farming that improves biodiversity, protects nature, and creates greater variety on arable land. It applies across Europe from 2015. There are three broad options for greening:
Permanent grassland is any sward that's more than five years old – it can be sown or self-seeded. There may be restrictions on what you can do with this grassland, but if allowed, you should improve your grassland with the latest high-yielding grass varieties by overseeding. It's the only way to introduce new genetic material.
Applies to arable land that takes crops in rotation. Spring and winter crops of the same species count as separate crops. Organic farms are excluded from the regulations.
At DLF we have a range of crops that would help you meet the diversification criteria:
Any farm that's larger than 15 hectares has to include an EFA, which must cover at least 5% of the arable land. What constitutes an EFA varies from state to state, but the following are typical: catch crops and cover crops, nitrogen-fixing crops, fallow land, buffer strips, and hedgerows – all of which have a different weighting factor.
Catch and cover crops are not just useful for greening. They help improve soils, prevent leaching, and help control weeds. Including them in your greening options could be good for your overall yield as well as your CAP subsidies.
To find out more about how we can help you achieve your greening obligations, speak to your local DLF representative.