Tranche 3 of the Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) Wider Level is open for applications until September 20.
Applicants can apply for grant support to protect watercourses on your farm through the EFS Wider Level.
There are five Water Quality options available. These have been popular in Tranches 1 and 2, with over half of farmers including water quality options in their EFS agreement.
* Creation of ungrazed riparian buffer strips - two metres wide or ten metres wide. These options involve fencing off a strip of land along the watercourse and allowing vegetation to grow. This buffer strip reduces the risk of nutrients, manure, sediment and pesticides run off and prevents livestock accessing the watercourse. It will also stabilise the banks and enhance biodiversity.
* Creation of riparian buffer strips - two metres or ten metres planted with native trees. These two options include funding for planting native trees and shrubs. They provide additional benefits to the ungrazed options including more biodiversity, reduced peak flood flow and carbon sequestration.
* Watercourse fencing - prevents livestock accessing the watercourse and reduces poaching, bank damage and sedimentation.
It may also be possible to apply for funding for additional capital items with these options: drinking trough; drinking trough base; drinking trough pipe work; pasture pump and associated pipe work; gates and gate posts.
These water quality measures will have the greatest impact in areas of intensive grassland where the level of farming activity, soil type and ground conditions are most likely to lead to nutrient run off.
Details on DAERA website or on 0300 200 7848. Applications can only be made online and you may need to register. A final awareness event, hosted by CAFRE, is being held at Loughry Campus on September 11 at 7.30pm.