Cross Compliance / DAFM Regulation

Cross Compliance / DAFM Regulation

Updated Tuesday 14th May 2024
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Crop Diversification

Crop Diversification

All farmers must comply with the rules for 2024 to claim the BISS entitlements.  Explanatory Handbook for Conditionality Requirements (page 83) 

The aim of this measure is to encourage crop diversity.  It is important to complete your calculations on the Maximum Eligible Area (MEA) for the LPIS parcel number and not the claimed area.  You cannot claim a lower area to avoid greening requirements or to reduce the extent of the requirements.

The normal rules of crop diversification are as follows:

  • There is no ‘crop diversification’ requirement where a farmer declares less than 10 hectares of arable land.
  • Between 10 and 30 hectares of arable land, a farmer is obliged to grow at least two crops, and any one crop cannot exceed 75% of the arable land.
  • Over 30 hectares of arable land, the farmer is obliged to grow at least 3 crops, of which the main crop shall not cover more than 75% of the arable land; the 2 main crops together must not cover more than 95% of the arable land.   Permanent grassland does not count as a crop for the three crop rules.  However temporary grassland can be counted as a crop and therefore comes into the calculation if greening is required.

Crop Rotation at a parcel level 

Holdings with an arable area equal to or greater than 10ha must implement a crop rotation which requires at least two different crops to be sown at parcel level over
a four year cycle.  The reference year for crop rotation is 2023, therefore there must be at least two different crops within an arable parcel over the period 2023-
2026 inclusive.
Year Crop in parcel Crop in parcel Crop in parcel Crop in parcel
2023 Spring barley  Spring Wheat Winter Wheat winter barley


Spring barley  Beans Winter Wheat oilseed rape
2025 Spring barley  Winter Wheat beet Winter Wheat
2026 Spring barley  winter barley  Winter Wheat Spring barley 
Compliant (Yes or No) No Yes Yes Yes

Field margins for tillage crops

Field margins for tillage crops 

When planting a tillage field there are a number of Conditionality /Cross Compliance requirements to be adhered to.  These areas are called grass margins or buffer zones. 

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Fertiliser Register and Nutrients allowed

Fertiliser Register and Nutrients Allowed  

In 2024 all farmers are required to register on the National Fertiliser Database so that all purchased chemical fertilisers are tracked by the Department of Agriculture (DAFM).  Given the DAFM will have full visibility on all purchased fertilisers, tillage farmers need to complete a farm plan (Nutrient Management Plan) of all of the nutrients (Nitrogen and phosphorus) which can be used.  Where a farmer exceeds the allowed limits there is an exposure to cross compliance fines (page 19), if in inspected.

The key elements to completing a farm nutrient management plan for a tillage farmer are as follows:

  • Current soil sample for all tillage parcels which will determine the level of N, P and K which can be used on the crop (see how to read the result here) .   
    • maximum area per soil sample 4 hectares - this may mean taking multiple samples in each field 
    • all soil samples must be taken no later than 4 years ago 
      • where the soil sample is not available the parcel is assumed P index 4 and will have no P allowance
    • where pH is above 7 extra allowances of P are available
  • List of the crop to be grown in each LPIS parcel for the year in current year
  • Quantities of organic nutrients to be applied to each LPIS 
    • to include; slurry, fym, sludges, poultry manure, mushroom compost 
    • this includes what is applied to the farm over the entire year (this spring and the autumn application) 
    • the application of these OM will reduce the amount of chemical fertilisers which can be applied 
  • Evidence of previous high yields from the farm
    • extra N and P are available where the farm has higher yields, the reference yields are here  

It is possible for any farmer or professional to calculate the nutrients required for a farm however compliance with all of the rules is essential. 

Use of a professional with experience in this area is recommended.  

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