A very brief introduction to Countryside Stewardship schemes and why we support them ...
Looking at Countryside Stewardship schemes and why they're good for the river, wildlife and for farm businesses
By Andy Dyer
Senior Farming and Conservation Officer
The recent launch of a new round of the Countryside Productivity Small Grant (CPSG) scheme offers funding to help towards the purchase of a wide range of machinery, equipment, monitoring devices and new technology which will benefit the farming business … and Eden’s rivers too.
If you’re thinking about applying for the grant and are interested in nature-friendly farming, river conservation charity Eden Rivers Trust has identified several eligible items that will benefit both the farm business and the environment.
Plate meters or nitrogen level meters can be used to assess grass growth or nitrogen status. This information can then help tailor fertiliser or organic manure applications to maximise nutrient uptake and efficiency of use, helping to reduce nutrient and sediment losses or the potential for valuable resources to run off into nearby watercourses.
Larger items of equipment such as a sward lifter are also eligible to purchase. Machines such as these offer valuable opportunities to alleviate any soil compaction present in grass or arable land and consequently help increase soil permeability to rainwater, helping to reduce run-off of soil and nutrients, reduce waterlogging and improving soil health and aeration leading to increased earthworm populations.
There is also the potential to invest in a direct drill which can help minimise carbon losses through reduced cultivations and improve soil structure and levels of organic matter within the soil profile.
Nutrient management is a vital aspect of farm business profitability. Items ranging from a slurry flow rate monitor, a variable rate controller for fertiliser spreaders as well as various items of slurry handling equipment (through to larger scale trailing shoe systems) can help with resource management.
Despite all the rain that falls in the area, water remains a valuable resource. Ram pumps can be used to help water livestock from springs and watercourses when these areas have been fenced off to help prevent erosion and movement of sediment into rivers and streams.
How to apply
Applying for the grant is straightforward, it’s all done online and only takes 10-15 minutes to complete the form. Please note, when completing the form to ensure that all details entered into the on-line form match those held by the RPA in relation to the business making the application.
Applications for the Countryside Productivity Small Grant (CPSG) close at midday on 03 September 2019.
Visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/countryside-productivity-scheme for more info/to apply.
We can help
If you would like to discuss any element of the CPSG scheme and, for those who farm in the Lowther/Leith or Petteril river catchments, how being a member of a Facilitation Fund Group may help increase the success of your Countryside Stewardship application in 2020, then please contact our farming team Andy Dyer or Sarah Kidd on 01768 866788.