Handy guide to key cross-compliance dates 2019

Defra and the agricultural departments of the devolved administrations have released the key dates in 2019 to help farmers avoid breaching cross-compliance rules.

The rules apply to all Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) claimants and are made up of statutory management requirements (SMRs) and standards for Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAECs).

Issues covered relate to:

  • Public, animal and plant health
  • Environment, climate change and good agricultural condition of land
  • Animal welfare

Any breaches – even mistakes – result in penalties applied to farm support payments. These are imposed by the Rural Payments Agency and range from a 1% reduction in BPS for every area breached, to 100% of the BPS in cases of severe persistent intentional failures.

See also: Ways to reduce farm ammonia emissions before regulation comes in 

To reduce the chance of making a mistake it is vital to know the dates and timings for key tasks that can lead to cross-compliance infringements.

January

1 – Rules in the 2019 Cross Compliance Guide must be followed from this date.

1 – Organic manures with a high readily available nitrogen content such as slurry, poultry manure and liquid digested sewage sludge can be applied to grassland and tillage land on shallow or sandy soils under suitable conditions. Note: Quantity restrictions must be met. (SMR 1)

1 – Start date for assessing the annual amount of livestock manure applied. (SMR 1)

16 – Manufactured nitrogen fertilisers can be applied to grassland and tillage land in suitable conditions. (SMR 1)

February

1 – Organic manures such as slurry, poultry manure and liquid digested sewage sludge can be applied to grassland and tillage land on all soil types under suitable conditions.  Note: Quantity restrictions must be met. (SMR 1)

28 – End of quantity restrictions for organic manure – slurry, poultry manure and liquid digested sewage sludge. (SMR 1)

March

All regions:

1 – Cutting or trimming hedges or trees is prohibited.

1 – Hedge and tree coppicing and hedge laying can continue from this date until 30 April. (GAEC 7a and 7c)

31 – Water abstraction licence holders should expect annual bills or first-part charge if two-part tariff agreements are held. (GAEC 2)

Scotland:

1 – Start of the ban on removing/burning scrub and gorse (SMR 2)

1 – Deadline for preparing and implementing a fertiliser and manure management plan (SMR 1)

1 – Hedge laying can continue from this date until 31 March (SMR 2, GAEC 7).

Wales:

1 – End of five-month storage period for all the slurry of livestock, other than pigs and poultry (SMR 1)

15 – Ban begins on burning heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse or vaccinium other than in upland areas (GAEC 6)

31 – Upland area ban on burning heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse or vaccinium begins (GAEC 6)

31 – Ban on carrying out any hedge-laying or coppicing starts unless with permission from the Welsh government for education or training purposes (GAEC 7)

April

England:

1 – Ban begins on burning heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse or vaccinium other than in upland areas. (GAEC 6)

1 – 28-day window opens for winter or year-round water abstraction licence holders (authorising abstraction outside the period April to October) to submit readings to Environment Agency. (GAEC 2)

16 – Upland area ban begins on burning heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse or vaccinium. (GAEC 6)

30 – “Specified” livestock numbers kept on individual farms during the previous calendar year must be recorded along with the calculated amount of nitrogen they produced. The number and type of livestock in a building or hardstanding during the previous storage period must also be recorded. (SMR 1)

Wales:

1 – End of six-month storage period for pig and poultry slurry.

30 – Livestock numbers kept on individual farms during the previous calendar year must be recorded along with the calculated amount of nitrogen they produced. The number and type of livestock in a building or hardstanding during the previous storage period must also be recorded (SMR 1).

Scotland:

1 – Start of the ban on hedge laying (SMR 2, GAEC 7)

15 – End of the standard muirburn season (SMR 2)

Northern Ireland:

15 – Ban on burning heather, gorse or fern applies starts (GAEC 5)

May

1 – Ban begins on hedge or tree coppicing and hedge laying. (GAEC7a and 7c)

June

Northern Ireland:

30 – Nitrates record for previous calendar year must be available for inspection (SMR 1)

July

England:

31 – All land drawn into a nitrate vulnerable zone (NVZ) for the first time in 2017 must meet all NVZ rules from this date. (SMR 1)

Scotland:

15 – End of the management period for EFA fallow.

16 – Cutting of EFA margin option is allowed, including for hay and silage. It is also possible to graze margins after this date so long as the margin does not contain or is adjacent to a watercourse.

Wales:

31 – End of EFA fallow period

August

England:

1 – Rural Payments Agency derogations begin for cutting or trimming hedges throughout August, to sow oilseed rape or temporary grassland. (GAEC 7a)

1 – Closed period begins on applications of organic manure such as slurry, poultry manure and liquid digested sewage sludge to tillage land on shallow or sandy soils, except where crops will be sown on or before 15 September. (SMR 1)

Scotland:

1 – Start of the closed period for the application of ‘organic manure with a high available N content’ on all land (other than grassland) where the soil type is sandy or shallow (SMR 1)

1 – Cutting or trimming hedges/trees is allowed to sow oilseed rape or grass or another crop (subject to written consent from RPD) (SMR 2, GAEC 7)

1 – End of management period for EFA nitrogen-fixing crops – crop cannot be harvested before this date to protect ground-nesting birds

Wales:

1 – Start of closed period for applying organic manure with a high readily available nitrogen content to tillage land on shallow or sandy soils (application is allowed between 1 August and 15 September as long as a crop is sown on or before 15 September)

1 – Hedges or trees may be trimmed on arable land where the normal agricultural practice requires a winter arable crops to be planted before 31 August, so long as nesting birds are not disturbed (GAEC 7)

Northern Ireland:

31 – Heather, gorse or fern burning can begin from this date (GAEC 5)

September

England:

1 – Ban ends on hedge cutting or trimming (GAEC 7a and 7c)

1 – Start of closed period for applications of organic manure such as slurry, poultry manure and liquid digested sewage sludge to grassland on shallow or sandy soils. (SMR 1)

1 – Start of closed period for applying manufactured nitrogen fertilisers to tillage land. (SMR 1)

15 – Start of closed period for applying manufactured nitrogen fertilisers to grassland. (SMR 1)

16 – Start of closed period for applying organic manure such as slurry, poultry manure and liquid digested sewage sludge to tillage land on shallow or sandy soils that has been sown with crops on or before 15 September. (SMR 1)

Scotland:

1 – Start of the closed period for the application of ‘chemical/manufactured fertiliser’ on all land (other than grassland) (SMR 1)

1 – Start of the closed period for the application of ‘organic manure with a high available N content’ on grassland where the soil type is sandy or shallow (SMR 1)

1 – End of the ban on cutting or trimming hedges/trees (SMR 2, GAEC 7)

1 – End of the ban on removing/burning scrub and gorse (SMR 2)

15 – Start of the closed period for the application of chemical/manufactured fertiliser on grassland (SMR 1)

Wales:

1 – Ban on hedgecutting or trimming ends (GAEC 7)

1 – Start of closed period for application of organic manure with a highly readily nitrogen content to grassland on shallow or sandy soils, and for applying manufactured nitrogen fertilisers to tillage land (SMR 1)

15 – Start of closed period for applying manufactured nitrogen fertilisers to grassland. (SMR 1)

Northern Ireland:

1 – End of closed period for hedge, tree and scrub cutting (GAEC 7)

15 (midnight) – Closed period for chemical fertiliser application starts (SMR 1)

October

England:

1 – Ban lifted on burning heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse or vaccinium on land in upland areas. (GAEC 6)

1 – Start of closed period for applying organic manure such as slurry, poultry manure and liquid digested sewage sludge to tillage land on heavier soils, ie not sandy or shallow. (SMR 1)

15 – Start of closed period for applying organic manure such as slurry, poultry manure and liquid digested sewage sludge to grassland on deeper and heavier soils. (SMR 1)

31 – 28-day window open for readings to be sent to the Environment Agency by holders of summer water abstraction licences (authorising abstraction wholly within the months of April to October). (GAEC 2)

Scotland:

1 – Start of the closed period for the application of ‘organic manure with a high available N content’ on all land (other than grassland) for all soil types (other than sandy or shallow) (SMR 1)

1– Start of the standard muirburn season (SMR 2)

15 – Start of the closed period for the application of ‘organic manure with a high available N content’ on grassland for all soil types (other than sandy or shallow) (SMR 1)

Wales:

1 – Start of closed period for applying organic manure with a highly readily available nitrogen content to tillage land on heavier soils

1 – Start of six-month storage period for all slurry types

15 – Start of closed period for applying organic manure with a highly readily available nitrogen content to grassland on heavier soils

Northern Ireland:

15 (midnight) – Closed period for application of organic manures, including slurry, poultry litter, sewage, sludge and abattoir waste begins (SMR 1).

31 (midnight) – Closed period for application of farmyard manure begins (SMR1).

November

England:

1 – Ban lifted on burning heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse or vaccinium in all areas. (GAEC 6)

30 – Two-part tariff agreement holders for water abstraction licences should expect to receive the second-part charge. (GAEC 2)

Scotland:

1 – Green cover EFA option must be established

Wales:

1 – Restrictions on burning heather, rough grass, bracken gorse or vaccinium on all land types end

December

1 – Annual inventory of sheep and goats must be completed. (SMR 8)

Scotland:

1 – Annual inventory of sheep and goats must be completed (SMR 8)

31 – Deadline for submitting abstraction data returns to SEPA (GAEC 2)

31 – End of the closed period for the application of ‘organic manure with a high available N content’ on all land where the soil types is sandy or shallow (SMR 1)

31 – End of the cross compliance year

Wales:

31 – Organic manure with a highly-readily available nitrogen content can be applied to grassland and tillage ground with sandy and shallow soils (SMR 1)

Northern Ireland:

15 – Annual inventory of sheep and goats must be completed (SMR 8).


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