Friday, 13 June 2014

Hurry up with the detail I'm warming to Greening

After a few days to contemplate, I feel there is enough in the recent Greening announcements to make me more relaxed about our future plans at Loddington. The timeline for next season's plantings marches on and the finer detail is still not known on EFA's and the 3 crop rule.

The drip feed of information has, at times, resembled a Chinese water torture, but the rules on nitrogen fixing crops and Higher Level Stewardship double funding is encouraging.

On Monday I could have boiled a kettle from the steam emitted from my ears, but by Tuesday I was happier after the ministerial statement. On Wednesday I gleaned enough information at Cereals 2014 to improve my mood. As the weekend approaches I've just got falling grain prices and black grass to worry about. Typical farmer!!

Getting the rules right with Europe to avoid infraction and therefore fines is one of the reasons for this drawn out process. Sometimes I do feel the European Commission should be subject to the same process if it misses its deadline (perhaps it does and I'm not aware of it).

So although the details on spring and winter cropping, rules on cover crops and fallow still tantalisingly on the horizon, I feel our own 'environmental efforts' over a number of years are being appreciated.
We should be able to accommodate Greening and use cover crops and fallow to create some wins for the environment and wins for our business

Dr Alastair Leake puts some well reasoned observations forward on the GWCT website today and I'll reproduce these in the next blog.

Footnote Sat 14th June 2014; The 3 crop rule particularly penalises small farms and makes it particularly difficult for contractors to run an efficient operation on such units. The efforts in the next round of reforms should concentrate on crop rotation and ways of recording it on the new BPS forms.

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