Agrimart – Talking Business with Edwin Thompson

Rural Agents

Spring is around the corner, believe it or not, and although we are still under Covid-19 restrictions thoughts are inevitably turning to lambing, calving and spring drilling. 2020 was a year that many in farming will hope to forget, however the 2021 harvest hasn’t had the best of starts either, a period of wet weather put a dampener on autumn establishment meaning there is extra pressure on spring crops. Livestock farmers should be feeling more optimistic as lamb and beef prices hold firm, hopefully a last minute Brexit deal will ease fears within farming somewhat.

It is also a timely reminder that the Basic Payment application window is open from the 15th March to the 15th May. 


The most significant change this year is the removal of crop diversification, also known as the three-crop rule, for 2021 and beyond, although EFA requirements still apply and remain unchanged from 2020. 

As in previous years all entitlement transfer applications must be submitted before the 2nd April, we currently have a number of Region 1 entitlements for sale so please contact us if you require any.

Agri-Environment Scheme (AECS) applications are once again open, albeit at a much-reduced level. This round has been restricted to options in five different categories: Organic Farming, Protected Areas, Management of Priority Bird Species, Slurry Storage, and Improving Public Access. The application window for this scheme is now open with a closing deadline of the 30thJune. Please contact us if you wish to discuss your application further. 


The RPA has also announced several changes to BPS rules, chiefly the removal of both the three-crop rule and the need for any EFA features. The most significant change is that from 2021 payments will start to reduce as funds are siphoned from direct payments to fund the new Environmental Land Management Scheme. Claimants will face a reduction of between 50% and 70% by 2024. This new scheme is still in development but at its heart will be sustainability and the deliverance of public good. 

In both England and Scotland, Cross compliance requirements remain in place until at least 2024 and must be met to receive full payments. Please be aware of Statutory management regulations (SMR) and standards of Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC). For those in Nitrogen Vulnerable Areas (NVZ) please also ensure you are complying with NVZ regulations.

Should you wish to discuss your BPS or AECS application or have any other farm management related queries please contact one of our offices below:

Galashiels: 01896 751300

Berwick: 01289 30443.

Carlisle: 01228 548385

Keswick: 017687 72988

Kendal: 01539 769790

Windermere: 015394 48811

Written by Jack Frater, an Agricultural Consultant at Edwin Thompson, based in our Galashiels office for Agrimart. Jack specialises in Farm and Estate Management.