Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs)

Reid

An Ecological Focus Area is an area of land upon which you carry out agricultural practices that are beneficial for the climate and the environment.  There are 6 EFA options that can be used on their own or in combination to meet your EFA commitment:

  • Fallow land
  • Buffer strips
  • Field margins
  • Catch crops
  • Green cover 
  • Nitrogen-fixing crops 

Unless exempt you will be required to put at least 5% of your calculated arable area into one or more of the 6 types of EFA.

Each EFA option has its own unique management requirements; further information about these and the exemptions can be found on the Rural Payments website.

Check that you know the rules and have adhered to them by working through the checklists:

Tips for EFAs

  • For the purposes of calculating your EFA requirement, your arable land must include all of the land used to grow arable crops, fallow, temporary grassland, leguminous crops and herbaceous crops that you declare on your Single Application Form.
  • If you use some of your permanent grassland area as an EFA buffer strips or field margins, this means that this area of EFA on your permanent grassland is now classed as arable land and will be added to your Greening total arable area calculation.
  • Ensure you claim and have more than 5% EFAs on the ground, you will not be penalised for declaring and managing more.
  • Consider the rules associated with each EFA option carefully to ensure they are manageable for you.
  • EFA fallow – remember during the fallow period these should not be used to store materials, turning of machinery or for access, except for occasional use.  
  • EFA buffer strips – these must be parallel to a watercourse, grass strips to be claimed as EFA that are not parallel to a watercourse should be claimed as EFA field margins.
  • EFA field margins and buffer strips - the commitment is for the whole year; the features should not be used to undertake agricultural production, including cultivations before 1 January the following year.
  • EFA green cover – if the green cover is to be sown after the main crop has been harvested make sure there is sufficient window to establish the crop in time.

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