11th May


URGENT UPDATE – New Guidance on the EU Basic Payment Scheme Three Crop Rule Derogation

DEFRA Minister George Eustice wrote to the European Commissioner, Phil Hogan requesting a UK wide exception from the three-crop rule for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) 2018. The application was supported by the TFA.

The European Commission has looked favourably upon the request and has produced a draft Regulation relaxing the rule in England and Wales however this will not be voted upon by the other Member States until 29th May.

If the relaxation of the rule is agreed, it will mean farmers with over 30 hectares of arable land will only need to comply with the two crop rule, rather than three. This will only apply if the failure to meet the three crop rule is due to the late winter, early spring weather. The relaxation won’t apply if the failure is as a result of winter sown crops exceeding the three crop rule thresholds. The claimants cropping pattern must include the planting of spring crops.

For those with less than 30 ha of arable, if approved, the relaxation will have no impact.  The two crop rule will continue to apply regardless of the outcome of the vote on 29 May.  Obviously, the vote will come too late for many farmers who are struggling with spring drilling at present.


Whilst we expect the vote to go through, we are unable to offer any guarantees.  We would therefore advise any members, who are still able to do so to, to sow spring crops.  For those in genuine difficulty consideration should be given to complying with the rules as we expect them to be endorsed on the 29th May and regardless of the outcome, the TFA will seek to argue that individual penalties should not apply.

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