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Sustainable Farming Incentive

Fri 8 December 2023

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Sustainable Farming Incentive Brochure

Once appearing not to be overly attractive, the recent announcement of the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) should be seen as an opportunity to increase income and advance farming techniques, with or without making significant changes to current farming practices. The introduction of herbal leys that has been popular with some under the refined Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) is carried forward into the SFI realising £382 per ha and could be imperative to the livestock farmer going forward. All grassland farmers should be considering legumes into grass swards at £102 per ha, and or low input grassland at £151 per ha, which also relieves the heavy burden of no supplementary feeding that was present with the common GS2 option under CSS.


Arable farmers can benefit from adaptation, with focus towards cover crops delivering £129 per ha as well as helping improve soil health, companion cropping such as buckwheat with OSR, or under sowing grass with wheat can generate £55 per ha, and a no insecticide top up of £45 per ha could be applied to late drilled crops. Once establishing the profit element of the harvested crop per ha, by comparison, consideration may wish to be given to managing some legume fallows generating £593 per ha, or wild bird food yielding £732 per ha before establishment.

A maximum of £36 per 100m of hedgerow can be achieved after some careful consideration of management.

Most of you are no doubt conducting regular soil sampling, pest management programmes and nutrient management plans, which pay out £5.80 per ha, £989 per yr and £589 per yr respectively.

So, taking a step back, the three above assessment plans, some cover cropping, low input pasture and perhaps a corner of wild bird mix may already be actions delivered by English farmers already, therefore, with the addition of some herbal leys, grass margins, a companion crop with no insecticide may be a worthy proposition for one looking to relieve the weight of the removal of the direct payments.  

Afterall they say a change is as good as a rest……!

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