Farmers risk losing part of their single farm payment if they fail to complete a Soil Protection Review on their farm by 1 September.

But with the looming deadline less than three weeks away, many farmers have yet to undertake the exercise.

“On the farm walks we host, typically fewer than half the farmers have done one,” said Alistair Leake, of the Allerton Research and Educational Trust, Leicestershire.

The trust is testing ways that conservation tillage methods can minimise pollution under a pan-European Soil and Water Protection programme (SOWAP).

Farmers were generally aware of cross-compliance requirements when it came to the SFP, but Dr Leake said many had overlooked the Soil Protection Review.

Part of the problem is that producers have been encouraged to undertake a number of anti-erosion measures in recent years and may feel the review does not apply to them.

But it must be completed even by farmers who have prepared a detailed Entry Level Stewardship Plan highlighting improved soil management methods.

It must also be completed by farmers who have prepared a Soil Management Plan to identify varying degrees of risk of both runoff or soil wash and erosion.

A DEFRA spokesman said it was important to distinguish the review from the more detailed Soil Management Plan required under Environmental Stewardship.

“As these are two different schemes for which farmers will receive two separate payments from the EU, the Soil Protection Review will need to be completed even if farmers have prepared a Soil Management Plan.”

Once completed, the review must be kept on the farm and made available for inspection. It should be updated annually or sooner if necessary.

Reviews are not required for common land unless the farmer is the sole occupier.

For advice regarding the review, call 0845 345 1302 or visit www.crosscompliance.org.uk.