Throughout the calendar year, it is important to remember the dates in which farm tasks need to be completed as well as dates in which schemes and grants close.

We have provided some useful dates to add to your calendar. The dates for 2018 are as follows:


  • 1st January - NVZ areas. You can apply organic manure with a high, readily-available nitrogen content. For example, slurry, poultry manures or liquid digested sewage sludge to grassland and tillage land on shallow or sandy soils from this date, if conditions are suitable and you adhere to the quantity restrictions for application of these manures. (SMR 1)

  • 1st January – NVZ areas. Beginning of the year for assessing the annual amount of livestock manure can be applied to your land. (SMR 1)

  • 1st January - Start of the ecological focus area (EFA) period for hedges, which must be present all year unless newly planted and buffer strip, which must be present all year. (Basic Payment Scheme)

  • 1st January - Start of period for EFA fallow land. (Basic Payment Scheme)

  • 15th January - EFA cover crops declared in the 2017 scheme year must be retained until at least this date. (Basic Payment Scheme)


  • 27th February - If you are cutting hedges which are in option BE3, this must be completed by this date



  • 2nd April - The Farming Rules for water requirements come into effect on this date.

  • 16th April - You must not burn heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse or vaccinium in upland areas from this date. 

  • 30th April - NVZ: You must have recorded the number of ‘specified’ livestock kept on your farm during the previous calendar year and calculated the amount of nitrogen they produced. You must also record the number and type of livestock in a building or hardstanding during the previous storage period.

  • 30th April - If you held an NVZ grassland derogation for 2017, you must submit your 'fertilisation account' to the Environment Agency by this date.


  • 1st May - You must not carry out hedge or tree coppicing, or hedge laying from this date.

  • 1st May - Crop diversification period and EFA period for nitrogen fixing crops begins (until 30 June).

  • 15th May - BPS 2018 application deadline to avoid late application penalties. 

  • 31st May- If you are applying for Mid Tier Countryside Stewardship this year (to start in January 2019), you must apply for your application pack by this date. Call natural England on 0208 026 1089.