Preparing for Sustainable Farming (PSF): Overview and incentives

In May 2022, the Scottish Government launched a new scheme called Preparing for Sustainable Farming (PSF).

It aims to assist Scottish farmers in meeting the government’s target of becoming net zero by 2045, with various incentives on offer.

The first phase of Track 1 of the National Testing Programme (NTP) seeks to encourage crofters and farmers to prepare their farms to meet the conditions of agriculture in the coming years and safeguard profitability and sustainability.

Preparing for Sustainable Farming: Who is eligible?

Eligible candidates are Scottish farmers, crofters and agricultural contractors, providing they are registered for funding with the Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Division (SGRPID), or have a Rural Payments and Services (RPS) username and password.

Candidates that meet these requirements will also need to have a carbon audit performed to PAS 2050 standard that is no more than three years old. They will also need to have soil analysis for a minimum of pH, P, K and loss on ignition (LOI) in order to be eligible.

A carbon audit using Agrecalc – a farm carbon calculator to lower emissions and increase productivity – meets this requirement.

Those without a carbon audit will be able to apply to receive a standard cost payment of £500 towards it. To view further detailed information, please click here.

You can complete the online application here.

Carbon Audit completed: What’s next?

If you’ve already completed a carbon audit within the last three years, you may be interested to know about the New Specialist Advice Carbon Audit action plan.

This support is now available to businesses who have completed a carbon audit and offers follow-up support for them to implement their audit action plan.

You can view further details and find the online application here.

Soil Analysis incentives

Region 1 land managers (arable land & improved grassland) will be able to claim up to £30/ha per year to support the cost of soil analysis.

The soil analysis must cover a minimum of pH, P, K and loss of ignition (LOI – Soil Carbon).

It is recommended by the Scottish Government to soil sample at least 20% of arable land and improved grassland annually.

Packages in conjunction with Soil Essentials

At McCreath Simpson & Prentice, we’re delighted to be linking up with Soil Essentials – the leading Scottish precision farming specialists.

Our team of Farm Traders can offer a range of packages meeting the grant requirements available from £18/ha-£30/ha, and they can be seen in the graphic below:

Why you should take advantage of grants now

The focus on carbon and nutrient use efficiency are becoming much more relevant in agriculture.

This autumn represents the perfect time to take advantage of the government funding to fine tune your inputs, as well as giving a benchmark figure for soil carbon.

pH is one of the determining factors of nutrient use efficiency and the table below shows the availability of the macronutrients in varying soil acidity.

Applications to soil with a pH of 5.0 could see a reduction in availability of around 70% and 50% respectively. With the cost of Triple Superphosphate (TSP) & Muriate of Potash (MOP) at an all-time high, this represents a significant potential loss.

Blanket applications of lime will certainly have a benefit on soils with lower pH but will not help even out the lower and higher pH areas.

Variable applications have demonstrated up to 50% reduction in overall application tonnage. This will save the user money in upfront cost, while also ensuring a more even uptake of nutrients across the field.

This autumn represents the perfect time to take advantage of the government funding available, and you can read more about in this blog about improving your phosphate use efficiency to maximise your fertiliser investment.

Contact your local MSP representative to learn what options might best suit your needs. Alternatively, you can get in touch with Sustainability Manager Ben Gothorp at: [email protected].