top of page
  • Writer's pictureBeth Metson

New SFI announcements - May 2024

Updated: May 29

As you may well have seen, recent updates and details regarding new options for farm funding through the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) have been announced. We are pleased to see more detail being published which adds clarity to the actions aims and the restrictions, allowing farmers to properly plan for what to apply for and the impact on rotations and land management going forward. Here are some details of note:


Some Flexibility has been lost

Farmers have lost some of the flexibility offered by previous schemes, notably there are now 10 actions with restrictions on area allowable. This aims to ensure secure food production, and the reasons behind these restrictions are understandable. There are also changes in popular options.



  1. Limits now apply on the amount of land farmers can enter into six specific SFI actions:

  2. IGL1: Improved grassland field corners or blocks taken out of management.

  3. IGL2: Winter bird food on improved grassland.

  4. AHL1: Pollen and nectar flower mix.

  5. AHL2: Winter bird food on arable and horticultural land.

  6. AHL3: Grassy field corners and blocks.

  7. IPM2: Flower-rich grass margins, blocks, or in-field strips.


The 25% rule is being applied to four actions in the expanded offer because they are similar to the six actions above. These actions include:

  1. WBD3: In-field grass strips.

  2. AHW9: Unharvested cereal headland.

  3. AHW1: Bumblebird mix.

  4. AHW11: Cultivated areas for arable plants.


Changes in Popular Options

Some popular options, like legume fallow and herbal ley, now have additional prescriptions regarding rotational use and plant species mix. Farmers need to read this new information carefully to ensure it aligns with their farm business goals.


What we are pleased to see:


  1. Incentives for Low Input Harvested Cereal This provides a great incentive for growers aiming to build a robust system with reduced reliance on external inputs.

  2. More Options for Upland Farmers Perhaps the area that has seen the most change - More actions and supplements have been added to create more specific management, where the current CS includes one shepherding option SP5, new applications have four actions to choose from; UPL7, UPL8, UPL9, and UPL10 to choose from, with specific timeframes included. The above four actions can also be ‘stacked’ with new livestock on moorland options, broken down based on intensity (moderate, low and limited).

  3. No Till Action The anticipated no-till action has been published as a static option, meaning it must remain in the same place and area as applied. This is aligned with soil health goals. A low-disturbance subsoil can be used as part of this action to relieve compaction and promote nutrient cycling.

  4. New Funding Stream The requirement to have been a past claimant of BPS (Basic Payment Scheme?) to participate in this new funding stream has been removed. This opens the door for new entrants and non-farming land managers.


What next?

There are benefits and new opportunities available to farmers, including new options, and incentives for sustainable practices.


But it’s important to understand the details of each option and how they align with a farm's sustainability goals. Farmers must set their sustainability objectives and priorities first, and then choose the funding options and actions that help achieve these goals. It’s important to continuously evaluate if these options are helping meet the objectives.

Download the quick reference guide:

You will also see a spreadsheet attached, this includes a ‘quick look’ table, one grassland focused, the other arable, to help see where some of the changes to codes and actions have occurred. All expanded SFI actions and current CS options are included on the other two tabs. Please note: these tables are not exhaustive, if you can’t see something you were expecting, please get in touch. Thanks to our colleagues Jerry and Tabitha for pulling this excellent resource together.

2024 SFI Expanded Offer - Action Updates
Download XLSX • 46KB

124 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All

1 Comment

Matthew Craig
Matthew Craig
May 24

Thanks Jerry & Tabita - a really useful resource - you beat me to it! Might be worth adding that the SFI hay making supplement (GRH7) can only be used in conjunction with CLIG3: Manage grassland with very low nutrient inputs. Thanks again. Matt

bottom of page