Union Calls for Derogation of Greening Rule

NFU Scotland has stressed to the Scottish Government the need for an urgent derogation from the European Commission in relation to the planting of green cover crops under the new greening guidance of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The Union is continuing to work with the Scottish Government’s Rural Payment Inspections Division to find effective ways forward for greening, but has stressed that this issue needs to be addressed urgently.

The planting of green cover crops is the option that has been chosen by some Scottish farmers to abide by the Ecological Focus Area requirements within the new CAP – however, due to this year’s late harvest many are now facing problems getting the ground cleared and sown with the deadline for establishing these crops now less than a week away.

NFU Scotland President Allan Bowie said: “For many of our members the lateness of this year’s harvest is unprecedented.  Green cover is an environmental measure with the deadline set by Brussels but the alternatives facing farmers to meet the deadline would be worse for the environment.

“Harvesting crops in wet conditions risks causing damage to the land, which could take years to recover while cover crops planted in poor conditions will be at a real risk of failure.  Crops harvested in very wet conditions need more energy to dry them.  If not correctly dried they will spoil and not be of any use.  A crop that fails means that all the resources used to grow it are wasted.

“What we need is for the Scottish Government to seek, as a matter of urgency, a derogation from this Brussels rule, to give a sensible extension to the deadline.”

Notes for Editors

  • Changes to the Common Agricultural Policy that came into force in 2015 require farmers to undertake certain agricultural practices deemed to be beneficial for the environment.  One of those practices is Ecological Focus Areas.
  • One of the EFA options available to Scottish farmers is the planting of green cover crops; normally undertaken after the harvest of their main crops.  The deadline for planting green cover under EU rules is 1 October.
  • If farmers fail to abide by EFA requirements they receive a reduced greening payment.  The greening payment can be worth 30 per cent or more of the total support payment.  A complete failure to meet the EFA requirement would result in a halving of the Greening payment for this year.


Contact Ruth McClean on 0131 472 4108

Date Published:

News Article No.: 185/15

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