In less than six months we should have submitted our first claim under the new Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), but most of us don’t have the faintest idea how that application process will work.
We know it will be online and those of us who have been able to try working over the internet in the past few years are now fairly confident about this. However, we have no idea what form the BPS will take or if indeed we will have to resubmit all our field data and in what detail.
See also: Farmer Focus: To drill or not to drill
For instance, do we need to remap and measure all the features we use for Entry Level Stewardship and those we intend to use for greening? In what form do we submit the new data? Will it be interactive maps, the laborious field-data sheets or sketch maps sent through the post?
Then there is the worrying statement from Defra that a new computerised system is being developed. That on its own should send a collective shiver through the agricultural industry, as the government does not have a very good track record on introducing computer systems on time, on budget or glitch free.
“Then there is the worrying statement from Defra that a new computerised system is being developed. That on its own should send a collective shiver through the agricultural industry, as the government does not have a very good track record on introducing computer systems on time, on budget or glitch free.”
In addition, are all the extra applicants trying to get online now and overloading the system? It kept crashing this year as we got nearer to the final submission date.
So what can we do? Not a lot really, except head out into the autumn mists armed with our measuring wheels and at least make sure we have measured everything down to the nearest inch, sorry 0.1ha.
With the advent of more seasonal weather machinery repairs and fabrication are taking place in the workshop. The hedgecutter is out trimming the many miles of roadside hedges.
Grain lorries are now regular visitors to the yard, although this year we moved an awful lot more than normal in August and September as we ran out of space.
I have also compiled a list of events, conferences and training courses to attend to ensure I keep my agronomy skills up to date and earn those all important Basis points.
Simon Beddows manages 1,000ha of arable land at Dunsden Green, south Oxfordshire. Cropping is cereals, oilseed rape, beans and forage maize.