14 April 2000

Be alert to avoid costly IACS errors

By Philip Clarke

AGENDA 2000 has led to a number of changes in this years IACS form and producers need to be more alert than usual if costly mistakes are to be avoided.

One of the main changes is that extensification premium will no longer be paid automatically on beef special premium and suckler cow premium claims, says David Winnard of consultants Laurence Gould Partnership. Instead, livestock producers will have to apply separately, filling in the new Section V of the base form, IACS 2 (2000). "Support for less favoured areas is also changing, from a headage to an area basis," Mr Winnard says. Hill Livestock Compensatory Allowances will be replaced by the Hill Farm Allowance in 2001, and those wishing to claim will need to complete the base form this year, and provide additional information to qualify for enhancement payments.

The Simplified Scheme no longer exists, adds Mr Winnard. But small producers, (under 15.62ha of eligible crops claimed in England), still do not need to set land aside.

"As for field margins, MAFF originally proposed that boundaries should not exceed 2m in width. But the EU has agreed to delay the implementation of these rules, so if hedges and other margins were acceptable last year, they should be OK this year.

"But, as always, applicants should check that all fields are properly registered on Field Data Printouts, areas and eligibility status are correct and that the previous years cropping is accurately recorded," he warns.

As well as the new information, Mr Winnard also warns against some classic mistakes:

lInformation entered should reflect the position as at May 15.

lIf in doubt as to the correct crop code, write the name out in full.

lEnsure you have the right green crop cover; natural regeneration may not be used after maize or legumes.

lEnter name, variety and forecast yield for non-food crops as stated on the contract with the collector.

Minimum set-aside is fixed at 10% this year, with a maximum limit of 50% of the total area claimed. Exceptions include those growing multi-annual biomass crops, those setting aside land which has left certain environmental schemes and those with land in additional voluntary set-aside.

Each block of set-aside must cover at least 0.3ha and be at least 20m wide, (except alongside permanent water courses, where 10m is allowed).

Special attention is needed for oilseed crops, says Mr Winnard. Rapeseed, linseed and sunflowers must be grown from varieties named in the AAPS Explanatory Guide. "Where farm-saved oilseed rape is used for harvest 2000, the seed must be from certified crops grown on the applicants own holding the previous year."

An analysis proving a glucosinolate analysis of 18mm/g or less must accompany the IACS application. &#42

David Winnard says farmers must take extra care filling out their IACS forms this year.