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SFI 2023 update from Defra

Updated: Apr 24

SFI 2023 will be launched later this month under a controlled roll out. The RPA will be in touch with details of an expression of interest form for those wishing to be one of the initial applicants and once the success of the initial launch has been determined, the process will be scaled up.

 
 

Due to automation, applications are expected to be processed quickly. Once an agreement is sent out, the agreement will begin one month later, with the first payment three months later, and then payments coming quarterly after that.


Defra have released an updated SFI handbook for 2023 with some minor adjustments to some of the details of the standard’s summarised below:


Updated changes below:


SAM1 – Assess soil, produce a soil management plan, and test soil organic matter - £5.80/ha + £95 per agreement.
  • You can only apply for this action on the total SFI available area in each land parcel shown in your SFI application. You cannot apply for it on part of that area.

  • If you need to take soil samples on areas within a land parcel containing historic or archaeological features, including scheduled monuments, you must request an SFI HEFER and meet the requirements for taking soil samples on these areas.

  • Only take enough soil samples to meet the requirements of the SFI action.

  • Carry out soil sampling to a depth of no more than 7.5cm on permanent grassland.

  • Carry out soil sampling to a depth of around 20cm, up to a maximum of 25cm, on arable land.

  • This can now be used on the following additional CS options: CT1, CT2, CT3, CT4, CT5, CT7, WT6, WT7, WT8, WT9, WT10

SAM2: Multi-species winter cover - £129/ha

If your agreement starts too late for you to complete this action, you can complete it within 12 months of your agreement’s start date.

SAM3: Herbal leys - £382/ha

This can now be used on the following additional CS options: OT1, OR1

NUM2: Legumes on improved grassland - £102/ha

This can now be used on the following additional CS options: OT1 & OR1

NUM3 – Legume fallow on arable land - £593/ha
  • This standard is now either rotational or static.

  • You can now cut the legume fallow to control other annual grassweeds, rather than just to control blackgrass as previously stated.

  • If rotating this action around your farm, for each year of your SFI agreement you must do it for a period that could reasonably be expected to achieve the aims of this action.

  • If you are doing this on the same land for the three years, it must be established in the first 12 months and maintained for each subsequent year of the agreement.

AHL1 – Pollen and nectar flower mix - £614/ha
  • This standard is now rotational or static.

  • If you’re rotating this action around your farm, for each year of your SFI agreement you must do it for a period that could reasonably be expected to achieve the aims of this action.

  • If you are doing this on the same land for the three years, it must be established in the first 12 months and maintained for each subsequent year of the agreement.

MOR1: Assess moorland and produce a written record - £10.30/ha + £265 per agreement:

You can only apply for this action on the total SFI available area in each land parcel shown in your SFI application. You cannot apply for it on part of that area.


All Hedgerow options:
  • You do not need to check your hedgerows on your digital maps before you apply for the SFI actions for hedgerows.

  • In your SFI application, you will need to tell us the length of eligible hedgerows you want to enter HRW1, HRW2, or HRW3 for each land parcel. This length should correspond with what is present on the ground in the relevant land parcel.

  • Once your SFI agreement starts, we may ask you to submit an RLE1 form and sketch map if we find that no hedgerows show on your digital maps for the relevant land parcel.

HRW1: Assess and record hedgerow condition- £3/100m each side:

You can now apply for this on top of SFI pilot standard’s, including all levels of the SFI pilot hedgerow standard.


HRW2: Manage hedgerows - £10/100m/ each side:

You can now apply for this on top of SFI pilot standard’s, including all levels of the SFI pilot hedgerow standard.


HRW3: Maintain or establish hedgerow trees- £10/100m:
  • You can now apply for this on top of SFI pilot standards, including the SFI pilot hedgerow standard.

  • You can apply for CS Capital grants to plant a hedgerow tree (TE1) and protect it with a tree guard (TE6)

  • You can now cut the trees in this standard but only if there is a clear need, for example to prolong the life of the tree, for health and safety reasons or if it is a tradition in the local landscape (such as coppicing or pollarding willow)

IPM2: Flower-rich grass margins, blocks, or in-field strips - £673/ha
  • You can now enter this standard on land that contains historic or archaeological features identified in your SFI HEFER.

  • You must maintain the flower-rich grass margins, blocks or in-field strips in a way that could reasonably be expected to achieve the actions aim, where previously you would need to maintain throughout the period of your SFI agreement.

IPM3: Companion crop on arable and horticultural land - £55/ha
  • If you have already established a companion crop, so it’s growing with the main arable or horticultural crop, you can use it to meet this action.

  • If your SFI agreement starts too late for you to complete this action, you can complete it within 12 months of the start date of your agreement, for example, if you have already sown the main arable or horticultural crop before your SFI agreement starts, you can establish the companion crop within the first 12 months of the agreement.

IPM4: No use of insecticide - £45/ha
  • You can now do this action on land located in the SFI pilot arable and horticultural land and soil standards.

  • You can only apply for this action on the total SFI available area in each land parcel shown in your SFI application.

IGL1: Take grassland field corners or blocks out of management - £333/ha

You can now do localised cutting to control injurious weeds or invasive non-native species, soft or hard rush, nettles or bracket on land entered into this standard.

ALH4: 4m to 12m grass buffer strips on arable and horticultural land - £451/ha:

The grass strip must buffer an existing landscape feature and can now include certain heritage features, including upstanding historic or archaeological features, such as earthworks, in-field structures, or buildings.


Defra have released further guidance on how to complete some of the actions, links below:


Guidance on how to assess soil, produce a soil management plan and test organic matter:


Guidance on how to establish and maintain multi-species winter cover:


Guidance on how to establish and maintain herbal leys:


Guidance on how to assess moorland:


Guidance on how to assess and record hedgerow condition:


Guidance on how to manage hedgerows:

Guidance on how to establish or maintain hedgerow trees:


Guidance on the Integrated pest management plan:


Guidance on how to maintain flower-rich grass margins, blocks or in-field strips:


Guidance on how to establish a companion crop on arable and horticultural land:


Guidance on how to manage arable and horticultural crops without using insecticide:


Guidance on how to complete a nutrient management assessment and produce a review report:


Guidance on how to establish and maintain legume fallow on arable land:


Guidance on how to establish and maintain legumes on improved grassland:


Guidance on how to establish and maintain blocks or strips of pollen and nectar flower mix:


Guidance on how to establish and maintain winter bird food on arable and horticultural land:


Guidance on how to establish and maintain grassy field corners or blocks on arable and horticultural land:


Guidance on how to take grassland field corner’s or blocks out of management:


Guidance on how to maintain winter bird food on improved grassland:


Guidance on how to establish and maintain a 4m to 12m grass buffer strip:


Guidance on how to manage grassland with very low nutrient inputs:


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