Greening: Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs) on arable land

28 August, 2018
The EFA requirement must be met by all farmers with over 15 ha of arable land and there are 6 EFA options that growers can choose from; Buffer strips and field margins / Catch Crops / Cover crops / Nitrogen fixing crops / Fallow / Hedges.
EFA Catch and cover crops
Catch and cover crops are used to protect the soil and to utilise available nutrients between harvesting and sowing.

All Catch or Cover crops must be a mixture of at least 1 cereal and 1 non cereal species from the lists below:
Cereal: Barley, Oats and Rye.
Non Cereal: Lucerne, Mustard, Oil Radish, Phacelia or Vetch.

There are no rules about the % mix or inclusion rates of any one species, so growers can select mixtures to suit their on farm needs/ opportunities and their financial budget. For example, those wanting high soil structure improvement might select a mixture of 90% Radish and 10% Oats, but those wanting maximum economy alone might select 90% Oats and 10% Radish.

Establishment and retention dates

To be established by
Catch crop - 20th August 2018
Cover Crop - 1st October 2018

To remain intact until
Catch crop - 14th October 2018
Cover Crop - 15th January 2019

Points to consider:
- The use of any species other than those listed above will make the mixture ineligible.
- Beware of Mustard in a Beet or Rape rotation and similarly, beware of Vetch in a Pea or Bean rotation.
- Lucerne is expensive seed and very slow to grow in the autumn.
- Black oats are quick to establish, however are not winter hardy.
- Phacelia has rapid establishment and is deep rooted.

For more information contact the AF Seed team.
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If you have any queries or would like to find out more please get in touch. 01603 881881Honingham Thorpe, Colton, Norwich, Norfolk NR9 5BZ