STEWARDSHIP SCHEME HAY CUTTING DATES

Due to the unusually hot weather, Natural England has had requests from farmers to cut hay crops earlier than is permitted under their agreement where the grass is ripening earlier than usual. They have also received requests to alter grazing, cropping and supplementary feeding requirements due to the heatwave.

In situations where the agreement holder cannot meet agreement requirements due to adverse weather conditions, they can ask Natural England for either a Derogation under Environmental Stewardship (ES) or a Minor and Temporary Adjustment (MTA) under Countryside Stewardship (CS). More information on MTAs is in the CS MT manual on pages 64-65, and in the HT manual on pages 70-71.  For ES, Derogation forms are available on GOV.UK (here for ELShere for HLS).  For CS, the agreement holder can either request a MTA form from Natural England Delivery Services (customer number 0300 060 3900) or download a form from GOV.UK.  Where a derogation is given, such as for the early cutting of hay, the agreement holder should ensure they avoid areas with ground nesting birds.

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