ARABLE AREA PAYMENTS SCHEME
SEED CERTIFICATION AND SET-ASIDE
Environment and Rural Affairs Department
AAPS  (2004)
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SEED CERTIFICATION AND SET-ASIDE
1. This leaflet is intended for seed growers in Scotland only. If you are farming in England, Wales or Northern Ireland you should contact the relevant agriculture department.
2. The Arable Area Payments Scheme (AAPS) was introduced, in 1993, as part of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) reform measures. Producers in the Scottish LFA claiming more than 17.66 hectares of crops and those in the Scottish non-LFA claiming more than 16.23 hectares of crops have an obligatory set-aside requirement of 5%. There is no obligation on small producers to set aside land but they may do so on a voluntary basis. The detailed rules of the AAPS are set out in the Arable Area Payments Scheme Explanatory Booklet which is issued annually and is available from your local SEERAD Area Office. This leaflet must be read in conjunction with that Booklet.
B. WHEN CAN SET-ASIDE PRECEDE A SEED CROP
3. Crops must be managed in such a way as to control volunteers of species which could subsequently contaminate seed crops. Volunteers come from two sources:
(a) seeds shed from a previous crop;
(b) dormant seeds.
The seed certification schemes place restrictions ('previous cropping requirements') on the crops grown prior to a seed crop which are designed to reduce the risk of contamination of seed crops from volunteers from preceding crops.
4. The previous cropping requirements usually involve restrictions on growing not only other varieties of the same species but also related crop species before the seed crop. The number of years of previous cropping which are controlled in this way depends on the category of the seed to be produced and on the crop species. For example, for Basic Seed of a grass species, the previous six years cropping is controlled, while, at the other extreme, for C2 cereals, only the year before the seed crop is controlled. Details are set out in the Seed Certification Booklets which can be obtained from:
Scottish Agricultural Science Agency
All Other Crops:
C. CEREAL SEED CROPS
5. Volunteer cereals can cause problems for cereal seed crops, particularly in dry autumns when some seed may fail to germinate before cultivations have been carried out. This can lead to viable seeds being ploughed in and to volunteers appearing in crops two, three or more years later.
6. The following rules shall apply:
(a) Where the set-aside cover does not contain cereals, the set-aside year will be considered as a break year for subsequent cereal seed crops;
(b) Where the set-aside cover is natural regeneration
following cereals, the set-aside year will be regarded as a further year of that species and variety; and
(c) Where the set-aside cover is sown but includes a cereal variety
, the set-aside year will be regarded as a further year of that species and variety.
7. If you intend to sow a non-cereal cover on set-aside following a cereal crop, you are advised to delay sowing until the cereal seed remaining from the previous harvest have had the opportunity to germinate. The cover should then be sown as soon as possible after the volunteers have been disposed of (normally by ploughing them in) in order to minimise the incidence of volunteers.
D. SEED CROPS OF ALL OTHER SPECIES
8. For seed crops of all other species, the cover in the set-aside year will be regarded as the 'crop' that year when deciding on the eligibility of the land for future seed production. Even a small proportion of a crop species in a plant cover mixture will affect the eligibility of the land for future use for seed production for that species. Thus, a mixture containing cereals and a small amount of oilseed rape would restrict the use of the field in the immediate future for both cereals and brassica seed crops.
9. Set-aside land with a cover formed by natural regeneration of the preceding crop will be considered as a further year of the same variety and species. The only exception is natural regeneration following a cereal crop ( paragraph 6(b)). You should note that, in most cases, it will not be advisable to attempt natural regeneration following rapeseed because of the difficulties of getting rid of volunteers.
E. SET-ASIDE LAND ADJACENT TO SEED CROPS
10. The seed certification schemes require isolation distances to be maintained around seed crops. Details of these distances are given in the Seed Certification Booklets which can be obtained from the address in paragraph 4.
11. It is particularly important that volunteers in the vicinity of crops being grown for seed are controlled. The risks they may present include cross-pollination and the spread of disease. Volunteers may be controlled by the use of herbicides, cutting or cultivation, provided that you observe the rules in the AAPS Explanatory Booklet. However, these operations can harm wildlife and you should therefore follow the advice in the Booklet on how to minimise these risks.
12. Seed growers need to consider carefully, the choice of species contained in green covers which they intend to sow on their set-aside land to ensure that they do not breach the isolation and health requirements of adjacent seed crops.
F. USE OF MANURES AND SLURRIES
13. The AAPS Explanatory Booklet explains the limited circumstances under which you can use animal manures and slurries on set-aside land. Seed growers should remember that these may contain viable seeds. They should therefore not be applied to land which will be used for seed crop production after set-aside.
G. FURTHER ADVICE
14. Advice on the AAPS - including set-aside - is available, in Scotland, from your local SEERAD Area Office. A list of the SEERAD office addresses and telephone numbers can be found in Appendix 9 to the 2004 AAPS Explanatory Booklet or in your local telephone directory. For specific advice about seed production please contact SASA at the address given in paragraph 4 of this leaflet.