MAKE SURE you understand what is required by the soil management aspects of Cross Compliance and Entry Level Scheme rules.

That was the message to growers attending a Soil Management Initiative open day in Malvern, Worcs, on Tuesday (Feb 8).

“All farmers should now have received DEFRA‘s booklet on Cross Compliance – it is vital to read and understand this information,” said the SMI‘s Paddy Johnson.

Under the cross compliance regulations, particular emphasis is given to reducing soil erosion and improving soil organic matter, he said.

It is likely growers will need to identify any areas at particular risk from erosion, talk about soil types, how crop residues are incorporated and methods of crop establishment, he explained.

The ELS will then build on these basic principles, requiring farmers to develop a map classifying fields as either high, medium or low risk – based on soil texture, slope and receptors (e.g. rivers), he said.

A plan outlining how you will manage these fields to address erosion and other issues highlighted will then need to be developed, Mr Johnson noted.

“There is some degree of erosion risk on nearly every soil, except very flat land. Growers will have to avoid high risk crops, prioritise drilling dates and avoid untimely operations.”

Paul.Spackman@rbi.co.uk