On the 15 June 2017, MEPs voted to prevent the use of pesticides in Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs) under new Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) rules, with the new rules coming into force in January 2018. Therefore, from next January, pesticide use will no longer be allowed on nitrogen-fixing crops, fallow, cover and catch crops that are counted as EFA (If you have more than 15 hectares of arable land and do not qualify for an exemption, you must designate at least 5% of your land to EFA). We are still waiting on the exact rules from the EU at this stage, but you should start to think about how this might affect your business going forwards.
Our advice is make your calculations now, rather than waiting until you have crops in the ground and realising you need to change what is in there.
There may be no alternate crop plan but consider instead of using crops that need pesticides you can still use other means to meet your EFA requirement, including:
- Cover cropping where appropriate
- Field margins (out of CSS if you don’t want to reduce your payment)
- Buffer strips alongside watercourses
- Fallow if it compliments your rotation
For more information, please call us on 01434 607028 or contact us online.