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Forage Update and Life after BPS

Samples taken up to 26 April 2022


This week has seen yet another change in weather, with rain seen in most regions. Some farmers managed to get an early cut completed following our last newsletter. However, this has not been the case for everyone.


According to the AHDB, grass growth rates have continued to rise quickly. Whilst this week’s figure (61kg DM/ha per day) is ahead of the 2017-2021 average growth rate, we are still marginally behind the figures for 2022. Grass quality across the country is fairly even with an average energy content of 12.1MJ/kg DM.


Our results show that all but the sample taken in Cornwall are well above our 3% sugar at 30% DM target and as mentioned in our previous newsletter, nitrates in our samples are low and suitable to cut. However, this figure will vary depending on nitrogen applications, so please ensure that you take samples if you are concerned.


Our advice is to cut as soon as the next weather window allows! Targeting a 30% DM crop with a 24–36-hour wilt, any extra time wilting, and sugar levels will begin to fall. If you plan to apply slurry following cutting, this needs to be done as soon as possible to avoid the risk of coating the first regrowth leaf in slurry which could affect the fermentation of second cut.


If you wish to send in any fresh grass samples, then please let us know! If you have any existing sample bags, then please tick the pre-cut analysis box on the information sheet.



Maize Drilling

Soil temperature data looks to indicate that soils are sufficiently warm enough to begin drilling maize, with some crops under plastic already being established. Historically, we always set an earliest start date for maize drilling of the 20th of April which has now passed. Soils can vary from location to location, so there are still several factors to consider.

  1. If you are in a frost pocket then hold off for another week or 10 days, frost scorch can hold the crop back by several weeks. Daytime temperatures look to be consistently above 15oC with little rain for the coming fortnight which could present a good establishment opportunity in most areas.

  2. If the maize is going in after a cut of silage the get that silage off very soon before the grass sucks out all the moisture from the soil.

  3. If the grass field is productive, even if only a cover crop of Italians last autumn, should you even be replanting with maize? How much maize do you actually need as growing more grass and less maize could save a lot of expensive protein next winter. Replenishing forage stocks is also a big consideration on a lot of farms this year, so forage budgeting is essential!

  4. Starter fertiliser – Whilst fertiliser prices have eased back slightly from the highs we saw last year, it will still be important to calculate whether this will be required if slurry has been used as responses can be marginal.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us!


What happens to BPS after 2023?

As we approach the 2023 BPS deadline, we thought it a poignant time to explain what will happen once BPS comes to an end after the 2023 scheme year. Going forwards, ‘delinked payments’ will replace the usual Basic Payment Scheme. i.e., payments will no longer be linked to land or entitlements. This will mean you do not need any land or entitlements to receive payments in the coming years, as the plan is to simplify the payments until they are eventually phased out in 2027. The delinked payments will be calculated based on your BPS payments received in 2020, 2021 and 2022. This is what is known as the ‘reference period.’ It is to note that your delinked payments will not be affected if:

  • Your farm size changes

  • The land use changes

  • You decide to stop farming

However, you must claim BPS in 2023 to continue to receive the delinked payments up until 2027.


The RPA will also continue to apply gradual reductions on your delinked payments each year. To find out how this affects you and to calculate what your delinked payments will be in the coming years, contact a member of the Kelly Farm Consulting Team.


If you have any queries on any of the above topics, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Kelly Farm Consulting Team!



Charlie Davies 07904 601104 charlie@kellyfarmconsulting.com Laura Cureton 07399 117257 laura@kellyfarmconsulting.com Sam Kelly 07777 696080 sam@kellyfarmconsulting.com


Office 01454 614624

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