DEFRA secretary Hilary Benn has extended the derogation from the cross-compliance standard of Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition regulation to 25 October.

The GAEC rule 3 prohibits damaging the soil by harvesting with vehicles on waterlogged ground. An exemption was granted on 10 September due to the exceptional weather, which was extended nationwide as the rain continued.

DEFRA reminded farmers again that ploughing in preparation for sowing is still prohibited. Farmers must record any soil damage in their soil protection review (GAEC 1), DEFRA said.

During this period it is likely that statutory authorities, or those acting on their behalf, may need access to claimants’ land for such activities as watercourse clearance and emergency or remedial works, a DEFRA spokesman said.

Farmers are not responsible for any soil damage caused under these circumstances, and must record it in the soil protection review, spokesman added.