Livestock Agricultural Services Livestock Management Low input livestock advice for pasture based and free-range systems Tell me more Crop Management Organic arable, field scale vegetable and soil management advice Tell me more Organic Farming Practical and technical advice for organic farmers and growers Tell me more Soil Management Agronomy advice aimed to improve soil health for sustainable livestock and cropping systems Tell me more Conservation Farm wildlife and resource protection advice for soil, air and water quality Tell me more Agroforestry Feasibility, system design, agronomy and economics Tell me more Farm Management Enterprise appraisals, strategic business planning, budgets and forecasts Tell me more Knowledge Transfer Taking agricultural research into farming practice Tell me more No-till farming No-till System advice, drill and cover crop selection Tell me more

Livestock Management Low input livestock advice for pasture based and free-range systems Tell me more Crop Management Organic arable, field scale vegetable and soil management advice Tell me more Organic Farming Practical and technical advice for organic farmers and growers Tell me more Soil Management Agronomy advice aimed to improve soil health for sustainable livestock and cropping systems Tell me more Conservation Farm wildlife and resource protection advice for soil, air and water quality Tell me more Agroforestry Feasibility, system design, agronomy and economics Tell me more Farm Management Enterprise appraisals, strategic business planning, budgets and forecasts Tell me more Knowledge Transfer Taking agricultural research into farming practice Tell me more No-till farming No-till System advice, drill and cover crop selection Tell me more

Who are we… and what do we do?

Abacus provides independent advice with a practical, hands-on approach to integrated farm management and agronomy for organic and low input agriculture. Our services focus on profitable and sustainable farming systems that follow best practice commercial principles for business, soils and the environment.

Our regional team of consultants combine local knowledge with a wide range of technical expertise covering many aspects of livestock and crop production, policy and regulation. Our clients include farmers, growers, processors, retailers large and small across the supply chain in the UK and internationally.

Tailored for you…

Our farm consultancy services are tailor made to your business with key areas of expertise summarised in these easy to navigate panels. If you can’t find what you’re looking for please get in touch…

Stephen Briggs on 07855 341309 or
Ian Knight on 07775 842444 or send us an email to:
advice@abacusagri.com

Current Market Data

Full credit for these graphs and market data goes to Farmers Weekly. For full and accurate information on farming market data, please visit their website.

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Farming Calendar

Things that rural grant claimants should (and shouldn’t) do throughout the year:

Credit and thanks to Farmers Weekly View all dates here.

All regions
  • 1 Jan – Rules in the 2020 Cross Compliance Guide must be followed from this date.

England

  • 1 Jan – Organic manures with a high readily available nitrogen content such as slurry, poultry manure and liquid digested sewage sludge, can be applied to grassland and tillage land on shallow or sandy soils under suitable conditions. Note: Quantity restrictions must be met (SMR 1).
  • 1 Jan – Start date for assessing the annual amount of livestock manure applied (SMR 1).
  • 16 Jan – Manufactured nitrogen fertilisers can be applied to grassland and tillage land in suitable conditions (SMR 1).

Scotland

  • 31 Jan – End of the closed period for the application of “organic manure with a high available N content” on all land for all soil types (other than sandy or shallow) (SMR 1).

Wales

  • 15 Jan – Manufactured nitrogen fertilisers can be applied to grassland and tillage land on all soils after this date if conditions are suitable (SMR 1).
  • 31 Jan – Manure with a high readily available nitrogen content (for example, slurry and poultry manures) can be applied to grassland and tillage land on all soils after this date if conditions are suitable and you adhere to the quantity restrictions for application of these manures.

Northern Ireland

  • 15 Jan – Ploughing can be carried out without restriction from this date (see GAEC 4).

England

  • 1 Feb – Organic manures such as slurry, poultry manure and liquid digested sewage sludge can be applied to grassland and tillage land on all soil types under suitable conditions. Note: Quantity restrictions must be met (SMR 1).
  • 29 Feb – End of quantity restrictions for organic manure – slurry, poultry manure and liquid digested sewage sludge (SMR 1).

Scotland

  • 15 Feb – End of the closed period for the application of chemical/manufactured fertiliser on all land in the Lower Nithsdale, Lothian and Borders, Strathmore and Fife (including Finavon) and Stranraer Lowlands NVZ areas (SMR 1).
  • 20 Feb – End of the closed period for the application of chemical/manufactured fertiliser on all land in the Moray, Aberdeenshire, Banff and Buchan NVZ area (SMR 1).

Northern Ireland

  • 1 Feb – Chemical fertiliser may be applied providing environmental conditions are suitable (SMR 1).
  • 1 Feb – Organic manures, including slurry, poultry litter, sewage, sludge and abattoir waste may be applied providing environmental conditions are suitable with wider waterway/lake buffers to the end of February ( SMR 1).

All regions

  • 1 Mar – Cutting or trimming hedges or trees is prohibited.
  • 1 Mar – Hedge and tree coppicing and hedge laying can continue from this date until 30 April (GAEC 7a and 7c).
  • 31 Mar – Water abstraction licence holders should expect annual bills or first-part charge if two-part tariff agreements are held (GAEC 2).

Scotland

  • 1 Mar – Start of the ban on removing/burning scrub and gorse (SMR 2).
  • 1 Mar – Deadline for preparing and implementing a fertiliser and manure management plan (SMR 1).
  • 1 Mar – Hedge laying can continue from this date until 31 March (SMR 2, GAEC 7).

Wales

  • 1 Mar – End of five-month storage period for all the slurry of livestock, other than pigs and poultry (SMR 1).
  • 1 Mar – Maintain minimum soil cover following harvest until this date (GAEC 4).
  • 15 Mar – Ban begins on burning heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse or vaccinium other than in upland areas (GAEC 6).
  • 31 Mar – Upland area ban on burning heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse or vaccinium begins (GAEC 6)
  • 31 Mar – Ban on carrying out any hedge-laying or coppicing starts unless with permission from the Welsh government for education or training purposes (GAEC 7).

Northern Ireland

  • 1 Mar – Final date for online submission of Nitrates derogation application (see SMR 1).
  • 1 Mar – Final date for online submission of fertilisation account for the previous calendar year (if the farm has an approved nitrates derogation) (see SMR 1).
  • 1 Mar – Fertilisation plan for the current calendar year to be ready and available for inspection (see SMR 1).
England
  • 1 Apr – Ban begins on burning heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse or vaccinium other than in upland areas (GAEC 6).
  • 1 Apr – 28-day window opens for winter or year-round water abstraction licence holders (authorising abstraction outside the period April to October) to submit readings to Environment Agency (GAEC 2).
  • 16 Apr – Upland area ban begins on burning heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse or vaccinium (GAEC 6).
  • 30 Apr – “Specified” livestock numbers kept on individual farms during the previous calendar year must be recorded along with the calculated amount of nitrogen they produced. The number and type of livestock in a building or hardstanding during the previous storage period must also be recorded (SMR 1).

Scotland

  • 1 Apr – Start of the ban on hedge laying (SMR 2, GAEC 7).
  • 15 Apr – End of the standard muirburn season (SMR 2).

Wales

  • 1 Apr – End of six-month storage period for pig and poultry slurry.
  • 30 Apr – Livestock numbers kept on individual farms during the previous calendar year must be recorded along with the calculated amount of nitrogen they produced. The number and type of livestock in a building or hardstanding during the previous storage period must also be recorded (SMR 1).

Northern Ireland

  • 15 Apr – Ban on burning heather, gorse, whin or fern applies starts (GAEC 5).

England

  • 1 May – Ban begins on hedge or tree coppicing and hedge laying (GAEC7a and 7c).

Northern Ireland

  • 15 Jun – For derogated farms only: at least 50% of slurry produced on the holding must be applied by 15 June and slurry must be applied using Low Emission Slurry Spreading Equipment (LESSE).
  • 30 Jun – Nitrates record for previous calendar year must be available for inspection (SMR 1).

England

  • 1 Aug – Rural Payments Agency derogations begin for cutting or trimming hedges throughout August, to sow oilseed rape or temporary grassland (GAEC 7a).
  • 1 Aug – Closed period begins on applications of organic manure such as slurry, poultry manure and liquid digested sewage sludge to tillage land on shallow or sandy soils, except where crops will be sown on or before 15 September (SMR 1).

Scotland

  • 1 Aug – Start of the closed period for the application of “organic manure with a high available N content” on all land (other than grassland) where the soil type is sandy or shallow (SMR 1).
  • 1 Aug – Cutting or trimming hedges/trees is allowed to sow oilseed rape or grass or another crop (subject to written consent from RPD) (SMR 2, GAEC 7).

Wales

  • 1 Aug – Start of closed period for applying organic manure with a high readily available nitrogen content to tillage land on shallow or sandy soils (application is allowed between 1 August and 15 September as long as a crop is sown on or before 15 September).
  • 1 Aug – Hedges or trees may be trimmed on arable land where the normal agricultural practice requires a winter arable crops to be planted before 31 August, so long as nesting birds are not disturbed (GAEC 7).
  • 31 Aug – Hedges and trees can be trimmed after this date (GAEC 7).

Northern Ireland

  • 31 Aug – Heather, gorse, whin or fern burning can begin from this date (GAEC 5).

England

  • 1 Sep – Ban ends on hedgecutting or trimming (GAEC 7a and 7c).
  • 1 Sep – Start of closed period for applications of organic manure such as slurry, poultry manure and liquid digested sewage sludge to grassland on shallow or sandy soils (SMR 1).
  • 1 Sep – Start of closed period for applying manufactured nitrogen fertilisers to tillage land (SMR 1).
  • 15 Sep – Start of closed period for applying manufactured nitrogen fertilisers to grassland (SMR 1).
  • 16 Sep – Start of closed period for applying organic manure such as slurry, poultry manure and liquid digested sewage sludge to tillage land on shallow or sandy soils that has been sown with crops on or before 15 September (SMR 1).

Scotland

  • 1 Sep – Start of the closed period for the application of “chemical/manufactured fertiliser” on all land (other than grassland) (SMR 1).
  • 1 Sep – Start of the closed period for the application of “organic manure with a high available N content” on grassland where the soil type is sandy or shallow (SMR 1).
  • 1 Sep – End of the ban on cutting or trimming hedges/trees (SMR 2, GAEC 7).
  • 1 Sep – End of the ban on removing/burning scrub and gorse (SMR 2).
  • 15 Sep – Start of the closed period for the application of chemical/manufactured fertiliser on grassland (SMR 1).

Wales

  • 1 Sep – Start of closed period for application of organic manure with a highly readily nitrogen content to grassland on shallow or sandy soils, and for applying manufactured nitrogen fertilisers to tillage land (SMR 1).
  • 15 Sep – Start of closed period for applying manufactured nitrogen fertilisers to grassland (SMR 1).

Northern Ireland

  • 1 Sep – End of closed period for hedge, tree and scrub cutting (GAEC 7).
  • 15 Sep (midnight) – Closed period for chemical fertiliser application starts (SMR 1).
  • 30 Sep – Buffer zones for slurry are increased to 15m from a waterway and 30m from a lake (see SMR 1 and GAEC 1).

England

  • 1 Oct – Ban lifted on burning heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse or vaccinium on land in upland areas (GAEC 6).
  • 1 Oct – Start of closed period for applying organic manure such as slurry, poultry manure and liquid digested sewage sludge to tillage land on heavier soils – not sandy or shallow (SMR 1).
  • 15 Oct – Start of closed period for applying organic manure such as slurry, poultry manure and liquid digested sewage sludge to grassland on deeper and heavier soils (SMR 1).
  • 31 Oct – 28-day window open for readings to be sent to the Environment Agency by holders of summer water abstraction licences (authorising abstraction wholly within the months of April to October) (GAEC 2).

Scotland

  • 1 Oct – Start of the closed period for the application of “organic manure with a high available N content” on all land (other than grassland) for all soil types (other than sandy or shallow) (SMR 1).
  • 1 Oct – Start of the standard muirburn season (SMR 2).
  • 15 Oct – Start of the closed period for the application of “organic manure with a high available N content” on grassland for all soil types (other than sandy or shallow) (SMR 1).

Wales

  • 1 Oct – Start of closed period for applying organic manure with a highly readily available nitrogen content to tillage land on heavier soils (SMR 1).
  • 1 Oct – Start of six-month storage period for all slurry types.
  • 1 Oct – Burning heather, rough grass, vaccinium or gorse is permitted on upland areas from this date (GAEC 6).
  • 15 Oct – Start of closed period for applying organic manure with a highly readily available nitrogen content to grassland on heavier soils.

Northern Ireland

  • 15 Oct (midnight) – Closed period for application of organic manures, including slurry, poultry litter, sewage, sludge and abattoir waste begins (SMR 1).
  • 31 Oct (midnight) – Closed period for application of farmyard manure begins (SMR1).

England

  • 1 Nov – Ban ends on burning heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse or vaccinium in all areas (GAEC 6).
  • 30 Nov – Two-part tariff agreement holders for water abstraction licences should expect to receive the second-part charge (GAEC 2).

Wales

  • 1 Nov – Restrictions end on burning heather, rough grass, bracken gorse or vaccinium on all land types (GAEC 6).

All regions

  • 1 Dec – Annual inventory of sheep and goats must be completed (SMR 8).

Scotland

  • 31 Dec – Deadline for submitting abstraction data returns to SEPA (GAEC 2).
  • 31 Dec – End of the closed period for the application of “organic manure with a high available N content” on all land where the soil types are sandy or shallow (SMR 1).

Wales

  • 31 Dec – Organic manure with a highly-readily available nitrogen content can be applied to grassland and tillage ground with sandy and shallow soils (SMR 1).

If you have read about our new No-till services in the media and would like to go straight to the No-till Decision Tree, then please use the button below:

No-till Decision Tree