Ever wondered how and when the Countryside (fields around us) are managed?
l’ve witnessed farming methods become heavily controlled by rules and regs. More so inline with our membership to the EU. Since changes are afoot. I thought this “calendar” may be of interest to us real-time onlookers.
Rules/dates have adapted to a changing climate and pressure from environmental groups. For instance with warmer weather, common seasonal birds may start nesting earlier and other flora and fauna can be effected actions of farmers trying to meet the demands of an ever increasing demand for food etc. Changing weather patterns Rain, frost go hand in hand with geological conditions. Eg impermeable soil types lead to added nutrient wash off in periods of heavy rain. This in turn pollutes rivers and streams leading to poor water quality and algae blooming, reduced oxygen availability for fish. Silted river beds reduced fish stocks and the knock on goes from there. So these rules on a fixed calendar (area dependent) are to protect the environment and not to limit the farmers.
Each year farm activities are governed by strict time restrictions. Just like our course fishing season. There is reason behind the madness.
These rules have consequences if ignored or abused. Mainly a financial consequence, £% reduction in subsidies, but prison sentences are not off the books for worst offenders. We all know rules set in stone sometimes are inconvenient and cheating will often occur. By understanding some of the key dates in farming we can appreciate why more tractors with muddy tyres are on the road in-front of us at certain times of the year.
- 1 Jan – Rules in the 2020 Cross Compliance Guide must be followed from this date.
- 1 Jan – Organic manures with a high readily available nitrogen content such as slurry, poultry manure and liquid digested sewage sludge, can be applied to grassland and tillage land on shallow or sandy soils under suitable conditions. Note: Quantity restrictions must be met (SMR 1).
- 1 Jan – Start date for assessing the annual amount of livestock manure applied (SMR 1).
- 16 Jan – Manufactured nitrogen fertilisers can be applied to grassland and tillage land in suitable conditions (SMR 1).
- 31 Jan – End of the closed period for the application of “organic manure with a high available N content” on all land for all soil types (other than sandy or shallow) (SMR 1).
- 15 Jan – Manufactured nitrogen fertilisers can be applied to grassland and tillage land on all soils after this date if conditions are suitable (SMR 1).
- 31 Jan – Manure with a high readily available nitrogen content (for example, slurry and poultry manures) can be applied to grassland and tillage land on all soils after this date if conditions are suitable and you adhere to the quantity restrictions for application of these manures.
- 15 Jan – Ploughing can be carried out without restriction from this date (see GAEC 4).
- 1 Feb – Organic manures such as slurry, poultry manure and liquid digested sewage sludge can be applied to grassland and tillage land on all soil types under suitable conditions. Note: Quantity restrictions must be met (SMR 1).
- 29 Feb – End of quantity restrictions for organic manure – slurry, poultry manure and liquid digested sewage sludge (SMR 1).
- 15 Feb – End of the closed period for the application of chemical/manufactured fertiliser on all land in the Lower Nithsdale, Lothian and Borders, Strathmore and Fife (including Finavon) and Stranraer Lowlands NVZ areas (SMR 1).
- 20 Feb – End of the closed period for the application of chemical/manufactured fertiliser on all land in the Moray, Aberdeenshire, Banff and Buchan NVZ area (SMR 1).
- 1 Feb – Chemical fertiliser may be applied providing environmental conditions are suitable (SMR 1).
- 1 Feb – Organic manures, including slurry, poultry litter, sewage, sludge and abattoir waste may be applied providing environmental conditions are suitable with wider waterway/lake buffers to the end of February ( SMR 1).
- 1 Mar – Cutting or trimming hedges or trees is prohibited.
- 1 Mar – Hedge and tree coppicing and hedge laying can continue from this date until 30 April (GAEC 7a and 7c).
- 31 Mar – Water abstraction licence holders should expect annual bills or first-part charge if two-part tariff agreements are held (GAEC 2).
- 1 Mar – Start of the ban on removing/burning scrub and gorse (SMR 2).
- 1 Mar – Deadline for preparing and implementing a fertiliser and manure management plan (SMR 1).
- 1 Mar – Hedge laying can continue from this date until 31 March (SMR 2, GAEC 7).
- 1 Mar – End of five-month storage period for all the slurry of livestock, other than pigs and poultry (SMR 1).
- 1 Mar – Maintain minimum soil cover following harvest until this date (GAEC 4).
- 15 Mar – Ban begins on burning heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse or vaccinium other than in upland areas (GAEC 6).
- 31 Mar – Upland area ban on burning heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse or vaccinium begins (GAEC 6)
- 31 Mar – Ban on carrying out any hedge-laying or coppicing starts unless with permission from the Welsh government for education or training purposes (GAEC 7).
- 1 Mar – Final date for online submission of Nitrates derogation application (see SMR 1).
- 1 Mar – Final date for online submission of fertilisation account for the previous calendar year (if the farm has an approved nitrates derogation) (see SMR 1).
- 1 Mar – Fertilisation plan for the current calendar year to be ready and available for inspection (see SMR 1).
To be Continued