Far from straightforward, but hopefully worth the effort in the long run.

That is Andrew Goodman’s verdict on the Higher Level Stewardship application still being worked on for Walgrove Farm’s 274ha (677 acres) at Great Witley.

Applying was definitely worth considering, a recent FWAG review concluded. “The environmental value of the land is high,” said adviser Becky Floate.

“HLS works in well with the type of mixed farm we have and operate,” says Mr Goodman.

Replacing crops and intensive grass on more marginal areas with some of the many options should allow more attention to be given to really productive areas, he adds.

“It should enhance the wildlife and, with any luck, increase the farm’s profitability.”

Although that is not among the HLS aims, it is a key decider. “It must be economically right before we will go for it.”

However, with fertiliser prices soaring, the opportunity to farm less intensively and still get paid for doing so is definitely an attractiveproposition.