The introduction of the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) this year, allows farmers who currently receive Basic Payment Scheme payments to apply for SFI, under which payments will be made for soil improvement.
There are 3 levels of payment for the Arable and Horticultural standard:
- Introductory level – 70% of land must have a sown green cover or weedy stubble over the winter months (Dec-Feb)
- Intermediate level – 70% of land must have a green cover crop during the winter months, of which 20% must be sown with a multi species cover crop
- Advanced level – details to be announced in 2023
The use of green manures, catch and cover crops will help to:
- Enhance the natural health and fertility of our soils
- Contribute to our efforts to reach Net Zero
There are many species of catch and cover crops to choose from; fodder radishes such as Romesa, have good biomass and are very deep rooting to help compacted soils. White mustard is another useful cover crop – Severka is fast growing and if sown early, can produce bags of biomass in a short period of time. Multi species seeds mixtures such as Green Reward are also useful, and contain 7 species to comply with the Intermediate level. Lift N Fix contains vetch, along with Humbolt winter rye. This mixture is a highly effective nitrogen lifter and provides great cover, which helps suppress weeds before incorporation into the soil.