Wild Bird Seed for Farmland Birds

Date published: 3 February, 2016

To see recent changes to this guidance, check the bottom of this page.

The aim of this option is to benefit farmland birds.

Blocks or strips of seed-bearing crop mixtures grown under low-input management will support arable plants and provide grubs and insects for farmland birds during the summer.

Then, during the winter and into spring, the crop will provide both seed and cover for birds.

Land that is not rough grazing is eligible.

You should not include areas of land covering rocks, scree, water, dense bracken etc. We will check this using the same approach we use to check land for the Basic Payment Scheme.

Assessing your land eligibility

You can check if this option is available on your holding here.

You must identify on a map the locations of any areas to be managed under this option each year.

This option can be moved around the farm within the normal rotation and on an annual basis.

To maximise flexibility you can manage a different total hectarage each year as long as the area you manage each year is at least 90 per cent, and no more than 100 per cent, of the area you plan to manage in the first year under this option.

  • each spring, you must manage a crop of a seed mixture which must include at least three small seed-bearing crops to include both a cereal and an oil-rich crop (e.g. oats, triticale, barley, quinoa, linseed, millet, mustard, fodder radish)
  • the blocks or strips must be at least six metres wide
  • do not harvest, graze, plough or cultivate the area before 1 March following the year of establishment
  • do not spray, except for the spot-treatment of injurious weeds (requires prior written notification) or treatment of invasive species (requires prior written approval)
  • you must maintain a diary

You can claim £322.63 per hectare per year subject to the following maximum claims:

  • five hectares per year per location code unit of up to 250 hectares
  • 10 hectares per year per location code unit of greater than 250 hectares
  • you can claim for up to two hectares per block or strip per contract

There is a separate capital item to support this, which you will need to claim each year:

You will only be paid for the area that you manage and declare annually.

The inspectors will check:

  • the area claimed is not on rough grazing
  • the size of the area claimed for each plot
  • that plots are at least six metres wide
  • the correct spring-sown mixture has been sown (invoice check may be required) for chosen management and has not been harvested, grazed, sprayed (unless with prior written notification or approval as appropriate) or ploughed down before 1 March the following year
  • you have maintained a diary

If you choose to apply for this option over the same area of land that you are allocating as an Ecological Focus Area to meet your Pillar 1 greening requirements, there may be an issue of double funding.

Section Change Previous text New text
Management requirementsAdditional bullet point added.-• you must maintain a diary
InspectionsAdditional bullet point added.-• you have maintained a diary

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