Organic Entry Level Stewardship (OELS) is open to all farmers, including those in the uplands, who manage all or part of their land organically, to deliver simple yet effective environmental management. OELS agreements are for 5 years.
Changes from 1 January 2013
The Making Environmental Stewardship More Effective (MESME) webpage provides details on new ELS options which will be available from 1 January 2013. There will also be changes to some existing ELS option prescriptions and points values from 1 January 2013. The new options and changes have yet to receive formal EU Commission approval.
Before you make an application, the land you want to put into OELS must be registered as ‘fully organic’ or ‘in conversion to organic farming’ with an Organic Inspection Body. (Copies of your valid certificates of registration and accompanying schedules must be submitted with your application).
As with ELS, you will receive a fixed payment – of £60 per ha, per year – for all organic land you enter into the scheme. In return for these payments, you will be required to deliver 60 points worth of management options, per ha of your organic land.
Aid for converting conventionally farmed improved land and established top-fruit orchards to organic farming is also available through OELS at rates of £175 per hectare per year for the first two years of the OELS agreement on improved land.
The OELS points are calculated in two ways:
You will automatically receive 30 points per ha for the organic land you enter into the scheme, to reflect the inherent environmental benefits delivered through organic farming.
The remaining 30 points will be made up from your chosen management options.
Please note that organic land in parcels of 15ha or more, within the Moorland Line is NOT eligible for OELS – it must be in ELS, for which the payment rate is £8 per ha per year.
A 100 ha lowland holding would need 6,000 (60 x 100) points to qualify for OELS, and would receive an annual payment of £6,000. You could achieve those 6,000 points in many ways. (See table below)
|Option description||Points available||Measurement||Your points|
|Automatic points achieved for organic land||30 points per ha||100 ha||3,000|
|Enhanced hedgerow management||42 per 100m||500m||210|
|Permanent grassland with low inputs||115 per ha||8 ha||920|
|Stonewall protection and maintenance||15 per 100m||8 ha||120|
|Management of field corners||500 per ha||1 ha||500|
|Wild bird seed mixture||550 per ha||1.5 ha||825|
|4m buffer strips on intensive grassland||500 per ha||1.5 ha||750|
|Skylark plots||5 per plot||18 plots||90|
For full details of options available in OELS please see the OELS handbook.
Information for land agents