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Grazing Management of Cattle

Option closed to new applications


This Option will encourage small units to keep cattle of traditional or native breeds. This has significant benefits for wildlife, landscape and the local economy.

What this will achieve

Keeping cattle on small units is good for wildlife, landscape and the local economy. Cattle graze coarse vegetation, open up the sward with their hooves and their dung supports large numbers of insects. This creates a more diverse habitat for flowering plants and insects, and these in turn support farmland birds and other wildlife. Growing traditional fodder crops for cattle also makes the landscape more interesting. Keeping cattle in remote areas generates employment and supports the agricultural economy.

Native or traditional breeds of cattle are better adapted to survival on land with coarser vegetation and colder, wetter conditions.

What you can do


This Option must be part of a Conservation Management Plan with Special Measures for Small Units. The Plan must describe how you will manage the cattle to benefit the special habitats or features on your land.

There are different Options for keeping cattle or introducing them to the holding. You may only choose one of these.

  • Keeping cattle: choose this Option if you already keep (own or formally lease) breeding cows of Scottish traditional or native breed(s) on your holding and maintain them each year for the greater part of the grazing season. You must continue to keep two or more breeding cows of Scottish traditional or native breed(s) on your holding for the lifetime of the agreement.
  • Introducing cattle: choose this Option if you do not keep (own or formally lease) cattle or your existing herd has fewer than two breeding cows of Scottish traditional or native breed(s). By the end of the first year of the plan you must introduce two or more breeding cows or heifers of Scottish traditional or native breed(s) on your holding, with the heifers to calve down by the end of the second year of the plan. To avoid over-grazing, you may need to reduce the number of sheep in proportion to the number of cattle introduced. For the remainder of the agreement you must continue to keep two or more breeding cows of Scottish traditional or native breed(s) on your holding maintaining them on your holding each year for the greater part of the grazing season.

Who can apply

You can apply if the area of in-bye land occupied by your business is not more than 20 hectares, excluding any apportionments, house and steading.

Eligibility criteria

Land receiving payments for similar management under other agri-environment schemes is not eligible under this Option.

A breeding cow is a cow that forms part of a herd either used for rearing calves for meat production or used for milk production and has borne a calf.

Any of the following Scottish native and traditional breeds are acceptable under this Option:

  • Aberdeen Angus
  • Ayrshire
  • Belted Galloway
  • Galloway
  • Highland
  • Luing
  • Shetland
  • Shorthorn

and first crosses of these native breeds. You may use a continental bull across the herd.

Please see the Definitions of Land Types page for more details.

What costs could be supported

For a comprehensive list of Capital Items click here. Any cost claimed must be fully justified. The following are examples of what may be claimed for:

When completing your Proposal, you can select the appropriate capital item(s) from the dropdown list of standard cost capital items for this Option.

In addition to the above capital items, financial support of up to 100% of eligible actual costs is available in respect of the following:

Please note that these capital items will not appear in the dropdown list of Standard Cost capital items for this Option and will need to be entered manually in the box for Actual Cost capital items. Only costs for the types of capital works listed above should be entered in the Actual Cost capital items box for this Option. Any other costs entered cannot be considered for funding.

Rate of support

This is a 5 year commitment. We will pay you per hectare of in-bye land that you manage under either Small Units Option, excluding any apportionments, house and steading.

Keeping cattle £185 per hectare per year.

Introducing cattle £273 per hectare per year.

We will pay you at the end of each year.

Inspection / verification

The inspector will check the requirements (as detailed above under 'what you can do') of the Option are being met, by a visual assessment on the day of inspection.

Beneficiaries must comply with the requirements of cross compliance and the minimum requirements for fertiliser and plant protection products. You must also comply with the requirements to avoid damaging any features of historic or archaeological interest, and follow Scottish Ministers' guidance for the protection of such areas or features (detailed in links below).

The following is a brief overview of the inspection procedures, for a full explanation please see links below:

Inspectors will check:

  • This Option is already part of the plan required for the Conservation Management Measures for Small Units Option
  • The area of in-bye occupied by the business is no more than 20 ha
  • The cattle retained or introduced are pure bred or first crosses of the breeds listed
  • Cattle records/ CTS Online for at least 2 breeding cows or heifers that will calve by the end of year two.
  • No overgrazing has occurred
  • Claimed capital items are completed to approved amounts and scheme standards.

List of links to relevant technical guidance

Minimum requirements for Fertiliser and Plant Protection Products - detailed guidance

Minimum requirements for protection of historic or archaeological features

"On the spot" inspections - overview of the inspection procedure