Date published: 16 March, 2018

For recent changes to this guidance, please see the bottom of the page.

This guidance is effective from 1 January, 2018

Arable land

Arable land means land cultivated for crop production, including areas that are temporary grassland (grass up to five years old following an arable or break crop).

It also includes areas of land which are available for crop production but which are lying fallow. It does not include areas under permanent crops (see below).

The initial 100 percent arable area figure, used for the crop diversification calculation, will be the area of determined arable land which is the arable land claims across the business following validation/inspection.

If you choose to claim an EFA margin on permanent grassland, open grazed woodland or rough grazing, it must be adjacent to, or within five metres of arable land or contiguous to a claimed EFA option.

You must claim this land as Permanent Cover (PC) on your Single Application Form (SAF). This Permanent Cover will be considered as arable land when calculating your total area of arable land for your Greening requirements, including the area of EFA.

If you have arable land registered for organic production or in organic conversion you may choose not to include this as arable land.

Arable crops

Land with arable crops including temporary grass and land lying fallow which is claimed by the business. It does not include arable land used for organic production. See Annex D for Arable crop list.

Grass in a long rotation

Areas of grass which are more than five years old, including those that have been reseeded as grass without a break crop (arable or catch crop), are considered to be permanent grass and therefore do not count as arable area.

Agricultural area

Agricultural area means any area taken up by arable land, permanent grassland or permanent crops.

Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC)

Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC) refers to a set of European Union standards which are aimed at sustainable agriculture. Keeping land in good agricultural and environmental conditions is related to issues such as soil erosion, maintaining the total area of grassland and soil organic matter.

Many elements of EFA are complementary to GAEC. This means that margins along hedges and water courses can count for both GAEC and EFA and as eligible land for the Basic Payment Scheme. (Refer to Overview for guidance on GAEC requirements).

Surface water

This can include coastal water, lochs, rivers, burns, streams and ditches which contain free water and also temporarily dry ditches.

Injurious weeds

These are species specified in the Weeds Act 1959:

  • spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare (Savi) Ten.)
  • creeping or field thistle (Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop.)
  • curled dock (Rumex crispus L.)
  • broad-leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius L.)
  • common ragwort (Senecio jacobaea L.)

Invasive species

This means:

  • giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)
  • Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica)
  • Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera)
  • rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum)


A hedge means any hedge which has a length of at least 20 metres or a length of less than 20 metres where it meets another hedge at each end. Any gap of less than 20 metres is treated as being part of the hedge.

EFA margins

EFA Margins is a collective term that includes both buffer strips and field margins.


European Commission regulations require beneficiaries to claim for eligible land when applying for support under a scheme, such as the Basic Payment Scheme.


The Commission requires that a beneficiary must record all the agricultural land on their holding on their annual Single Application Form.

Temporary grassland

Temporary grassland is land that has been in grass or other herbaceous forage for five years or less, (included in Annex D).

Permanent grassland

Permanent grassland and permanent pasture (together referred to as permanent grassland) means land used to grow grasses or other herbaceous forage naturally (self-seeded) or through cultivation (sown) and that has not been included in the crop rotation of the holding for five years or more.

For clarity, areas declared as Permanent Grassland (PGRS), Rough Grazings (RGR) or Open Woodland (grazed) (WDG) are all included within permanent grassland for the purposes of the Basic Payment Scheme and Greening.

Permanent crops

Means non rotational crops other than permanent grassland and permanent pasture (including rough grazing) that occupy the land for five years or more and yield repeated harvests, including nurseries and short rotation coppice. See permanent crops, Annex F.

Organic land

Land that is in conversion or maintenance and has been certified by a recognised certifying body.

Cross-border farming

Every farm business needs to be sure that it is meeting relevant Greening requirements and this includes businesses that have farms in different parts of the UK.

A cross-border business would need to meet the crop diversification requirement across the business as a whole. A cross-border business could grow a mix of crops on each of its farms no matter where they are located or, the business could grow different crops in different parts of the UK. For example, as long as the business overall meets the crop diversification requirement, it could chose to grow spring barley in Scotland, potatoes in England and temporary grass in Wales.

A cross-border farming business would also need to meet its EFA requirement across the business as a whole. This means that the requirement could be met in just one part of the UK. Where the EFA requirement is delivered in different parts of the UK, the measures will need to meet the conditions set in the country in which the EFA is located, i.e. meet English conditions for EFA in England and meet Scottish conditions for EFA in Scotland.

Plant Protection Products

Plant Protection Products are ‘pesticides’ that protect crops. A ‘pesticide’ is something that prevents, destroys, or controls a harmful organism (‘pest’) or disease, or protects plants or plant products.

The term includes, amongst others: herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, acaricides, nematicides, molluscicides, rodenticides, growth regulators, repellents, rodenticides and biocides. A more detailed definition can be found via the following link: