ELS sees cover crop surge

THERE HAS been a huge surge in the number of farmers looking to buy seed for game cover and conservation crops following the introduction of the Entry Level Scheme, according to Richard Barnes of seed firm Kings.

Speaking at the CLA Gamefair, Mr Barnes said: “Before ELS, most enquiries were from farmers with shoots on their land, now I would say they are down to 70%.

“Last year people were asking ‘what is ELS?’ now they are asking ‘what options do I have, what seed mixtures can I use?’”

Mr Barnes said farmers were cottoning onto the fact that relatively cheap seed mixes could help qualify for ELS.

“They are an easy way to get points.” For example, wild bird seed mixes cost about £6/ha a year, with each ha plamted worth 450 points, he said.