An exemption has been granted to the environmental management of arable fallow (EMAF) Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES) action for 2024.

This requires participants to create an area of bare ground by shallow cultivation by 31 March each year.

Due to the recent adverse weather, if ground conditions don’t allow participants in ACRES tranche one to conduct the requirement, known as requirement nine, no shallow cultivation is required this spring.

The objective of the EMAF action is to establish a bare fallow field each spring for declining ground nesting birds, such as lapwing and hen harrier, and in the autumn, to provide a catch crop to absorb residual nutrients.


A circular sent to ACRES advisers said all other requirements must be met, including requirement 10, that from 31 March the selected area must be left fallow with no machine operations or grazing until after 1 July.

“While an extension to the date was considered for requirement nine of the specification, it was concluded, based on expert ecological advice, that such a move could be potentially harmful for lapwing and other ground-nesting species [of birds], as some species only produce one brood per year and this can occur as early as the second week of April,” it stated.

This exemption also applies to those accepted into ACRES tranche two.

Letters of approval will begin issuing to ACRES tranche two participants in the coming weeks. Participants are not obliged to establish an action prior to the receipt of an approval letter.

The circular noted that the EMAF area must be protected from livestock at all times.

Participants should use the code EMAF when declaring this action on their Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) application.