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- Farming and rural
New Greening guidance published.
New Greening guidance for 2016 has today been published on the Scottish Government's Rural Payments and Services website.
The guidance – which has been developed in close collaboration with the NFUS and environmental organisations - includes some important updates for next year.
It also explains the equivalence options that may be available to farmers if they are approved by the EU – including, for example, allowing Scottish farmers to choose alternative ways of meeting their crop diversification requirements.
Mr Lochhead said:
"Greening is good for the environment and can benefit farm finances – and this new Greening guidance provides advice to farmers who are currently planning their planting.
"It sets out what will change in 2016, and what will stay the same, as well as the equivalence measures the Scottish Government is pushing for in Europe.
"We know that productivity and yields can be improved by increasing the number of birds and insects on farmland that eat pests and pollinate crops, and also by applying the right nutrients to the land.
"Many farmers already test their soil pH levels to make sure they're applying the right product in the right quantities, and not wasting money. Even though soil testing is not compulsory in the 2016 Greening rules, it makes good business sense and I encourage all farmers to adopt this practice."
The new Greening Guidance 2016 is available from https://www.ruralpayments.org
It sets out standard crop diversification measures that will continue to be available to farmers, as well as the alternative options that farmers may be able to choose if EU approval is granted.
The Scottish Government has also proposed another equivalence measure which, if approved by the EU, would require farmers to produce a modest nutrient management plan for permanent grassland.
Other changes for 2016 include alterations to the rules on Ecological Focus Area (EFA) nitrogen fixing crops and associated EFA field margins, acceptable crops in the Green Cover mix to include Clover and Radish, changes to EFA field margins and buffer strips and requirements to submit a map for EFA features with your 2016 SAF.