Technical articles

The Farming Advice Service has produced a number of technical articles, covering a range of topics related to cross compliance. To view the articles please see the links below:


Month published Title Summary
August 2018 New farming rules for water New rules that apply to all farmers in England have been introduced to help improve water quality by reducing diffuse pollution. This article explains the requirements of the new rules in more detail.  
August 2017 - Updated August 2018 Nitrate Vulnerable Zones: Back to basics FAS has produced a technical article called 'NVZ: Back to basics', which provides a simple guide to the NVZ requirements. 
December 2016 - Updated August 2018 Top tips for compliance with sheep identification and registration The Farming Advice Service (FAS) have produced some top tips to address the most common non-compliances identified during SMR 8 inspections.
November 2016 - Updated August 2018 Top tips for compliance with cattle identification and registration The Farming Advice Service (FAS) have produced some top tips to address the most common non-compliances identified during SMR 7 inspections.
July 2016 Simplification of livestock movements Defra will be making changes to the way keepers can register their holdings in England for the purpose of recording and reporting livestock movements. For some farmers, this may simplify how the holdings are registered and reduce the number of livestock movement reports that need to be submitted. 
June 2016 New tree cutting and trimming rules for 2015 - updated A closed period that places a ban on cutting and trimming hedges and trees between 1 March and 31 August (inclusive) has been introduced as part of the updated 2015 cross compliance requirements. This article explains the new requirements. 
August 2015 Subscribe to FAS services: Keeping you up to date on the latest farming-related news The Farming Advice Service (FAS) provides integrated advice to farmers and land managers to help meet the challenge of increasing food production while improving environmental outcomes. The advice programme delivers a range of free support services designed to keep you up-to-date on the latest information and news.
May 2015 Step by step guide to making greening work on your farm Under the new Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), 30% of an arable farmer’s payment will depend on them meeting the ‘greening’ requirements. Here is a guide on how to meet the BPS requirements this year. Full guidance can also be found on the GOV.UK website at
March 2015

Soil management requirements for 2015: important changes

From 1 January 2015 the cross compliance soil management rules have changed significantly. The new soil management rules are applicable to all Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and certain pillar II claimants, so it is important that you are aware of how to comply with the requirements to safeguard your payments. 

February 2014 Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from agriculture Whilst reducing greenhouse gas emissions has a significant environmental benefit, it can also reduce costs and help to save money through improved efficiency. In this article we give some examples of actions that can reduce GHG emissions and improve business performance.
January 2014 Soil Protection Review: choosing the correct environmental option

PLEASE NOTE: The information in this article has been superseded by new cross compliance soil management requirements for 2015. To view the 2015 guidance, please go to  

If you are a Single Payment Scheme (SPS) claimant or are in receipt of support through certain schemes under the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), such as Entry Level Stewardship (ELS), you are required to complete a Soil Protection Review (SPR). The SPR is a requirement under the Cross Compliance Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC) rules and it should be retained on the farm.  It is a useful tool to raise awareness of potential risks associated with the soil-type and the different crops you are growing on your holding. The article contains a case-study to demonstrate how the SPR has helped West Hall Farm to pinpoint damage to the soil and identify an appropriate remediation strategy.

May 2013 Cutting farm costs by improving water efficiency Following such a wet period during 2012, it may be difficult to consider water as a resource under stress. However, during the early months of 2012, UK water resources were under considerable pressure. In many catchments, not just in the south and east, there was little or no water available for abstraction during dry periods. Predictions indicate that the extremes experienced in 2012 are likely to become more common in the future due to climate change. This article aims to highlight areas where you can reduce the vulnerability of your business to such extremes of weather and your exposure to the increasing cost of water.
May 2013 Cross Compliance & Game Management  A recent article in the sporting press suggested that plastic cartridge wads found on land where the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) is being claimed might result in an inspector imposing a penalty. This article was misleading and has caused considerable concern; as a result, FAS has written an article to explain those aspects of Cross Compliance associated with shoots and game management of which SPS claimants need to be aware.
January 2013 Slurry storage requirements This article aims to provide practical guidance on the manure storage requirements to ensure farmers have the information they need to get the best from their manures and comply with regulations. The article discusses the benefits of maintaining slurry storage capacity, the legal requirements of slurry storage, and the practicalities of what you need to store, how to store it and, importantly, cost-efficient mechanisms to minimise storage requirements.
November 2012 Soil Protection Review and managing waterlogged soils

PLEASE NOTE: The information in this article has been superseded by new cross compliance soil management requirements for 2015. To view the 2015 guidance, please go to

Management of waterlogged soils is essential in preventing damage to soil structure, which can lead to a lower crop yield. This article provides guidance regarding how to record activity on waterlogged land and how to remediate damage caused by these

July 2012 Sheep Identification and Movement Guidance Sheep (and goat) identification and movement legislation exist to enable the tracing of movements in a disease outbreak. To improve the traceability of sheep across the EU, new rules for electronic identification (EID) and individual recording of movements were introduced on 31 December 2009. Certain provisions of this legislation are cross compliant (Statutory Management Requirement 8). As such, Single Farm Payment (SFP) reductions can apply for non-compliance. This article aims to provide some guidance on the implementation of EID and movement recording to reduce the risk of non-compliance and also explain some management benefits of EID.
July 2012 Understanding your options: getting more N out of manure Agricultural manure and slurry are valuable sources of nutrients. However, farmers are often uncertain about how much of the nitrogen (N) in manure and slurries applied to land is actually available for crop uptake. This article provides new information that will help farmers understand how to make more of the N in agricultural manure and slurry available to crops by using ammonia-reducing spreading techniques and anaerobic digestion (AD). This is important information for nutrient management planning and optimising the efficiency of mineral N fertiliser applications.
March 2012 Risk maps are not just for NVZs You should be aware of the new Cross Compliance requirement about needing a risk map, but what does this mean for you? The Farming Advice Service has put together some key questions to help you understand exactly what it is, and how to get started.