Farmer Focus: BPS mapping frustrations as trees keep moving

So far, so good this spring. A fantastic spell of weather at the end of March and into April allowed crops to develop well and work to progress so much so that, for the first time in many years, sugar beet was all planted in a timely fashion.

All it needs now is plenty of moisture to ensure that it achieves its potential. Now it’s time to turn to other pressing issues – the battle with the BPS and stewardship forms.

It should be easy this year, or that’s what I was told, after all, it’s the same as last year, isn’t it? Given the many very small and insignificant rural land register changes that we have had to look through recently, I very much doubt it. Just when will these boundaries settle down and stop moving?

See also: How growers will benefit from AHDB’s new variety tool

The pesky hedges and trees planted a couple of hundred years ago do just seem to slip and slide around, not to mention those fences; I do wish that they could just keep still.

In our case, this year we had a net land gain again, all be it much less than 1ha – was it really worth all that effort?  Despite post-Brexit promises of less red tape and paperwork, I am not sure the Rural Payments Agency will be able to wean itself off the mass of forms and data it loves to work with.

I mean, how on earth will it be able to administer the Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme and ensure that all that public money will be doing the public good if it hasn’t checked that the satellite data is up to date and that the trees haven’t moved again?

It certainly has been an interesting time for so many reasons, especially when we have interacted with visitors or those who we don’t share our houses with.

The new norm that is the SDD (social distancing dance) is fascinating to watch, so many backsteps, sideways shuffles and even hard stares for those who dare to enter the 2m SDZ (social distancing zone) can, on occasion, prove quite amusing.

Let us hope that these and other efforts are effective and that some of the restrictions can be dispensed with very soon. 

Stay safe and together we will beat this curse.