13 August 1999

10m set-aside deal?

NEGOTIATIONS to allow narrower set-aside strips from this autumn are continuing in Brussels, with a 10m (33ft) field margin option now looking more likely.

But until a deal is done growers should continue to plan for a 20m (66ft) minimum, advises ADAS.

The latest proposal from France is for 10m strips alongside permanent water courses.

Although that could tie in well with spray buffer zone requirements, it overlooks many other environmental benefits that could come from placing narrower set-aside strips alongside other areas, says ADAS Boxworth-based weeds expert James Clarke.

But until agreement is reached growers should stick to existing rules, he stresses. Failure to do so could jeopardise IACS payments.