Historically, the CS scheme has been split into two tiers. The Mid Tier element applies to the broadest range of growers and is open to anyone for application. For this tier, we recommend that applicants consider the ‘Wild Pollinator and Farm Wildlife Package’ where several management options are put together to benefit pollinators, arable plants and wildlife such as farmland birds and the brown hare. The Higher Tier alternative is mostly targeted at designated sites such as SSSIs and meets specific habitat or regional requirements. Generally, those taking part in this tier have been directly invited to do so by Natural England.
Both of these tiers are competitive and application does not necessarily guarantee that an agreement will be made. This, coupled with ongoing complexities and administrative issues, has meant that the scheme has been undersubscribed. To address this, DEFRA and Natural England have now made efforts to streamline the scheme and make it more attractive to growers.
The Simplified Offers
There are now four ‘simplified offers’ within Mid-Tier, with an easier application process and clearer evidence requirements. The options are differentiated by farm type and include an arable, pastoral, mixed farm or upland offer. Crucially, if a grower can deliver the requirements asked for by Natural England, an agreement will always be offered.
Within all of the different tiers of CS, the options available can fulfil all the requirements for creating excellent wild and reared game habitats while also receiving very attractive payments. With application numbers now likely to substantially increase, seeking expert advice before applying and having ongoing technical support is more important than ever, to maximise your chances of success and deliver top quality habitats across your farm.
Countryside Stewardship - Wild Pollinator and Farm Wildlife Package Option Summary
|Option (option code)||Payment/ha||Kings product suggestion|
|Nectar flower mix (AB1)||£511/ha||Grass Free Pollen and Nectar Mix|
|Legume and Herb Rich Swards (GS4)||£309/ha||Legume and Herb Rich Sward Mix|
|Flower rich margins and plots (AB8)||£539/ha||Species Rich and Wildflower Grass Mix|
|Winter Feed and Cover|
|Winter bird food (AB9)||£640/ha||Campaign Mix/Moir Mix|
|Supplementary bird feed in winter (AB12)||£632/ha||Kings Supplementary Feed Options|
|Autumn Sown Bumblebird Mix (AB16)||£550/ha||Autumn Sown Bumblebird Mix|