Farmer Focus: Hours filling out forms is worth the cash

It’s all been about forms lately.

First, a Countryside Stewardship (CSS) Higher Tier (HT) application completed before the end of April.

Then the obvious Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) by mid-May and now an Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme  Landscape Recovery (LR) bid in conjunction with some of our neighbours in the Breckland Farmers Wildlife Network (BFWN) to be in by 25 May.

See also: Oilseed rape area set for big rise driven by high rapeseed prices

About the author

Andrew Blenkiron
Arable Farmer Focus writer
Andrew Blenkiron manages the 4,400ha Euston Estate, south of Thetford. Principal farm enterprises are combinable and root crops, including sugar beet. In addition the estate supports let land, sheep, outdoor pigs, poultry, suckler cows, horses and stewardship.
Read more articles by Andrew Blenkiron

Next, will be the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) application, which will demand an element of time to ensure that it is completed correctly.

That’s certainly a whole mass of acronyms.

Despite certain individuals promising a bonfire of red tape during the ultimate acronym that was Brexit, I thought that I had better complete the forms to ensure that my addiction, my fix, is at least satisfied for a few more years.

After all, I would be foolish to ignore the cash that comes, as a result of all of those hours of toil. 

So do not forget to get your fix that will be the SFI when it comes. It’s a use it or lose it situation.

Out in the real world that is the farm, it’s been a great spring, slightly dry, but that seems to be the norm these days.

Winter cereals were well established, so they are still finding a bit of water to enable them to keep going. Sugar beet and maize are making their way, slowly, out of the ground.

Our latest, rapid-growing, carbon-seizing crop of Paulownia is just being planted and everything is crossed to ensure that it delivers.

Will it grow as fast as promised? Will the first harvest be in just 10 years? Will the market for carbon credits really develop as expected? 

I will let you know in due course. 

The challenge at the moment is deciding what to plant this autumn.

Return to oilseed rape to satisfy demand? Grow a low-input crop to ensure we aren’t held hostage to high-input costs? Or continue to do more of the same and sell cereals forwards into this exceptionally buoyant market? 

Oh for the crystal ball that can give the answers!    

Enjoy the Platinum Jubilee events and I look forwards to seeing you at Cereals.

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