NFU Scotland responds to three crop derogation

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NFU Scotland has reacted to the Scottish Governments derogation from the three crop rule in their updated Greening guidance.

Willie Thomson, NFU Scotland Combinable Crops Chairman, said: “The prolonged period of cold, wet conditions has meant the window of opportunity to plant and establish crops for 2020 has been narrow and meeting the three-crop rule for many farmers has been almost impossible. The derogation from the three-crop requirement will make a difference to growers who have been unable to get onto waterlogged ground, but it is already looking for some parts of the country that fallow may be a more economic option than planting.

NFU Scotland has consistently opposed the need for the three-crop rule to apply in Scotland. The EU’s blunt Greening rules do not fit the profile of Scottish agriculture and so offer little by way of environmental gain but have added significant cost to many Scottish agricultural businesses and to Scottish Government in terms of inspections and compliance complexities.

NFU Scotland proposes the removal of the Crop Diversification and Permanent Grassland requirements from the current Greening rules from 2021. There is no monoculture issue to be addressed by the Crop Diversification rules in Scotland and the abundance of permanent grassland at a national level renders that Greening requirement completely unfit for purpose.

Required ‘green’ outcomes – notably on climate change and biodiversity – need to work within agricultural systems rather than prescriptive dates that compromise food production but do little or nothing in terms of environmental benefits.”

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