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Retention of Winter Stubbles

 Option 17 retention of winter stubbles

Retention of Winter Stubbles

Option 17 - Retention of Winter Stubbles

(Option Closed To New Applications From 2014)

What this is about

This option provides support for retaining stubbles over the winter to provide cover and food for birds.

What this will achieve

Winter stubbles will provide cover, and food in the form of spilt grain and seeds, for birds which will increase the number of birds that survive the winter.

Biodiversity Action Plan ( BAP) species that may benefit include: Song Thrush, Tree Sparrow, Reed Bunting, Grey Partridge, Linnet and Corn Bunting.

What you must do


  • Retain stubbles from your harvest of spring or winter cereals, protein or oilseed crops to provide cover and food for birds until the end of February the following year. Once you have harvested you must not plough or cultivate the area before 1 March in the following year.
  • You must not undersow crops.
  • You must not apply pre-harvest desiccants.
  • You must not apply post-harvest pesticides without the prior written agreement of Scottish Ministers for activities such as spot treatment of injurious weeds (common ragwort, spear thistle, creeping or field thistle, curled dock or broadleaved dock) or control of non-native invasive species (e.g. giant hogweed, Himalayan balsam, rhododendron ponticum and Japanese knotweed).
  • Arable silage is not an eligible crop for this option because it does not provide autumn 'stubbles' and any remaining crop as a source of food for the birds over autumn and winter.
  • You can change the location of your winter stubble but you must include the same number of hectares each year.
  • The controlled grazing post-harvest will increase the available food supply to over-wintering birds because ground disturbance uncovers more seeds. Fallen grain and dunging supporting increased numbers of invertebrates. The grazing regime adopted for areas being managed under this option must be such that the aims of this option, providing cover and feeding areas for birds, is not frustrated.

Who can apply

All land managers are eligible to apply for this option.

How to apply

Complete Section 3 of the LMO application form and columns L and M of your SAF Data Sheet using code LMORWS.

Eligibility criteria

The option is available on arable land.

Areas printed on your IACS map are for gross plan area of the land parcel.  This includes ineligible areas such as roads, yards, buildings, ponds, rocky outcrops and impenetrable areas of vegetation contained within the land parcel.  You must check your current land parcels maps for ineligible areas and ensure you do not claim on them.

Land receiving payments for similar management under other agri-environment schemes is not eligible under this option or LMO option 24, Natural regeneration after cereals. This option cannot be adopted on an area of land which is receiving payment under the Organic Aid Scheme (conversion or maintenance), the Rural Priorities, Conversion to and maintenance of organic farming options or LMO option 25, Maintenance of organic farming.

Rate of support

This is a 5 year commitment. We will pay £96 per hectare of the winter stubbles retained on eligible arable land per year. We will pay at the end of each year.


The inspector will check the requirements of the option are being met (as detailed above under 'What you must do') by a visual assessment on the day of inspection.

You must comply with the requirements of cross compliance and the minimum requirements for fertiliser and plant protection products and you must avoid damaging or destroying any historic or archaeological features or areas (detailed in previous section).