Chartered Surveyors,
Land & Estate Agents,
Auctioneers & Valuers


01423 730700


01423 860322


01423 322382

Sustainable Farming Incentive – In More Detail

Back to news
Sustainable Farming Incentive – In More Detail

Several hundred farmers will get involved with the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) testing, trialing and pilot schemes from October this year to late 2024; a scheme which will offer payment for sustainable farming practice, animal health & welfare, environmental outcomes and reducing carbon emissions.

Under the pilot, participants will select from eight standards to build an agreement on. Payments will be paid monthly in arrears, the value depends on the ‘level’ achieved. These standards, payments and summary of requirements can be seen in the below table.

More standards will be developed and introduced as the pilot progresses, such as for peaty soils, unenclosed uplands and measures to support animal health and welfare that lead to reduced emissions.

We welcome DEFRA’s exploration through these pilots of how success/compliance can be monitored through self-assessment and shifting focus from penalising failure to helping farmers improve.

DEFRA is looking for participants for the pilot in England who have the capacity to commit to learning and providing feedback (anticipated 10 – 15 hours per month), receive BPS, can commit land parcels that aren’t already in agreements or common land/ shared grazing and have management control until late 2024. Whilst the limited standards are available, the pilot may not be accessible to upland farmers.

More information is expected in summer this year ahead of the full scheme launch in 2022. If you have any questions or wish to express your interest in the pilot scheme, please contact a member of our agricultural team on 01423 860322. Note: expressions of interest must be received by the end of March.





arable and horticultural land standard

£28/ ha



Resources birds/ insects, soil nutrient management plan, rapidly incorporate FYM/ slurry

Nutrient budget, rotational ditch management, soil mapping

Areas tall vegetation/ scrub, habitats for crop pests, precision application fert/ manure

arable and horticultural soils standard




Soil assessment, avoid/ alleviate soil compaction, apply organic matter, contour drilling, cover crops

Minimum inputs organic matter, minimum tillage

Minimum inputs organic matter, soil management plan, minimum cultivations/ travel

improved grassland standard




Graze to maintain a minimum sward height, leave areas un cut/ un managed, protect historic sites, nutrient management plan

Accommodate birds when cutting silage, rotational ditch management, nutrient budget, test slurry and manage application, reduce fertilizer with clover and legumes

Provide higher swards, legume and herb rich swards, leave some ryegrass, soil mapping, precision application fert/ manure

improved grassland soils standard




Soil assessment, avoid/ alleviate soil compaction, establish ground cover when reseeding

Reduced tillage

Soil management plan, reduce travel

low and no input grassland standard




Reduced herbicides, buffer in field trees, limit fert/ manure, minimise impact of supplementary feeding, rotational ditch management, maintain a minimum sward height

No fert, FYM on meadows only, manage tall vegetation, make field dried hay/ haylage

Field dried hay/ haylage

hedgerow standard




Leave areas un cut, some hedgerow trees

Leave some areas un cut, raise cutting height, more hedgerow trees, buffer strips from agrochemicals/ fert

More hedgerow trees and buffer strips

on farm woodland standard




Increase connectivity between habitats, deadwood management, woodland condition assessment  and threat assessment (£100 + £25 one offs)



waterbody buffering standard




Buffer strips

Increased buffer sizes

Include wildflower mix into buffers