On June 10th Defra confirmed as follows:

'New regulations that give farmers flexibility over how they implement EU rules have been announced today by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson.

Under new EU regulations, known as greening, farmers must ensure 5 per cent of their land is set aside as an Ecological Focus Area (EFA), instead of being used for farming.

To ensure that farmers are able to continue their essential work of growing food, improving the environment and boosting the rural economy, Defra has chosen a package of options which give farmers flexibility over how they comply with the rules.

Farmers will be able to choose how to meet the EFA requirement from a list which includes land lying fallow, buffer strips, ‘catch and cover crops’ used to manage soil fertility and quality, Nitrogen Fixing Crops such as legumes and hedgerows.'


“We see the CAP reform, which demands growers carry out greening measures to qualify for full Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), as bringing opportunities for British pulse production,” says Roger Vickers, PGRO Chief Executive.

Greening measures will account for approximately 30% of the Basic Payments available. Split into two elements, both must be fulfilled to receive greening payments under the BPS.
1.  Crop Diversification:
With certain exceptions, growers with more than 30ha of arable area will have to ensure that they grow at least three crops, each of which must be <75% area and no two can be >95% area.
2)   Ecological focus areas:
These must account for at least 5% of the Arable area as described in the Defra announcement. They specifically include:
•            Fallow land and buffer strips
•            Landscape features such as hedge rows
•            Catch crops and green cover
•            Nitrogen fixing crops
He stresses that pulse crops can fulfil all of a grower’s obligations for greening, giving this example:


Farm – arable area

200 ha

Total land area classed as arable

Crop diversification requirement.

Minimum 5%

10 ha

Third crop requirement

Ecological Focus Area ( EFA).

Minimum  5%

10 Ha

Beans or Peas qualify

at 0.7 x their actual area

Beans or Peas required to meet

EFA requirements


Meets both diversification

and EFA requirements

Value of Greening in the

Basic Payment Scheme (BPS)


Greening payment at £61/ha


By growing 14.2 ha of pulse crops, all greening measures are satisfied, the grower takes the gross margin of the crop and adds £12,200 in additional Basic Payment to the enterprise bottom line.
In years to come, the penalty for not complying with greening measures will increase and the Ecological focus area requirement may rise too. The value of being green compliant will increase.
Pulse crops provide the solution to continued profitable farming practices, compliance with greening measures, improved habitats and landscapes. For growers facing increasing issues with resistant weeds (especially grass weeds), increasing pest pressure with all crops, and reducing prices for oilseeds, pulse crops offer an increasing appeal. Such are the benefits of pulses that, for most growers, they will be included at a significantly higher level than the minimum level for greening requirements purely for their rotational and economic benefits.
Roger Vickers adds, “pulse crops need no nitrogen fertiliser, improve soil fertility and leave residual nitrogen for succeeding crops. They provide a wider harvest and drilling window, improve disease and pest breaks and improve the productivity and economic value of subsequent crops in the rotation.
“Add to this the strong market demand for pulse grains at home and abroad - and an increasing differential between pulses and wheat and oilseed prices - and the argument for pulses is increasingly compelling.”