This week, Defra published the SFI 2022 Guidance notes which was the first time we have seen detailed information about how the scheme will operate.  It will open in June with a rolling application window with no fixed deadline.  The Standards available in 2022 include:

  • Improved Grassland Soils: Introductory level £28/ha & Intermediate level £58/ha
  • Arable and Horticulture Soils: Introductory level £22/ha & Intermediate level £40/ha
  • Moorland and rough grazing - £265/agreement/year + £10.30/ha. There is an additional payment of £6.15 per hectare for common land with its own agreement.  This payment is still low but is more than announced earlier this year.  (Please note our newsletter shows the old payment rates).

The scheme will also pay for an animal health and welfare review and testing for endemic diseases.  You can apply for Basic Payment Scheme and SFI on the same land parcels, but only some limited Stewardship Scheme options are compatible with the SFI Soils Standards and these are listed in the guidance notes. There is also detailed information about the eligibility of land for each Standard.

This is complicated and is likely to mean that those in Stewardship schemes particularly on grassland may not be able to apply for the Soils Standards.  We recommend you take time to read the guidance notes and check your land use codes are correct.  The Federation of Cumbrian Commoners has written a useful article about the Moorland Standard – go to: Cumbria Commoners - SFI Moorland and Rough Grazing article.