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Scots farm chiefs ask EU for cover crops derogation

Scottish farmers are calling on Holyrood to push for an urgent derogation from the European Commission to allow later planting of green cover crops.


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Some farmers have chosen to plant cover crops to abide by the Ecological Focus Area (EFA) rules
Some farmers have chosen to plant cover crops to abide by the Ecological Focus Area (EFA) rules

 

Some farmers have chosen to plant cover crops to abide by the Ecological Focus Area (EFA) requirements within the new CAP - however, due to this year’s late harvest many are now facing problems getting the ground ready in time to be sown.

 

Union chiefs fear farmers could lose out on up to half of their greening payment if they fail to meet the requirements of EFA.

 

NFU Scotland (NFUS) president Allan Bowie said: “For many of our members the lateness of this year’s harvest is unprecedented. Green cover is an environmental measure with the deadline set by Brussels but the alternatives facing farmers to meet the deadline would be worse for the environment.”

 

Mr Bowie said harvesting crops in wet conditions would risk causing damage to the land, which could take years to recover. Cover crops planted in poor conditions will be at a real risk of failure, he added.

 

“Crops harvested in very wet conditions need more energy to dry them. If not correctly dried they will spoil and not be of any use. A crop that fails means that all the resources used to grow it are wasted,” said Mr Bowie.

 

“What we need is for the Scottish Government to seek, as a matter of urgency, a derogation from this Brussels rule, to give a sensible extension to the deadline.”

 

The deadline for planting green cover under EU rules is October 1.

 

The greening payment can be worth 30 per cent or more of the total support payment.

 


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Machinery in Practice: CTF and cover crops working hand in hand Machinery in Practice: CTF and cover crops working hand in hand

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