Please note that these key dates are specifically for England. Key dates for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland may differ.

January

1stCross Compliance, which farmers and land managers must follow if they claim certain rural payments, ended in England on 31st December 2023, however farming and land management regulations still apply. The rules farmers and land managers must follow can be found on GOV.UK.
1stFor any land located in a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ), from this date you can apply organic manure with a high, readily available nitrogen content (for example, slurry, poultry manures or liquid digested sewage sludge) to grassland and tillage land on shallow or sandy soils if conditions are suitable and you adhere to the quantity restrictions for applying these manures. This is also subject to compliance with the Farming Rules for Water and there is agronomic justification. (NVZ Guidance)
1stFor any land located in an NVZ, this is the beginning of the year for assessing the annual amount of livestock manure applied to your land. (NVZ Guidance)
16thFor any land located in a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ), this is the date from which you can apply manufactured nitrogen fertilisers to grassland and tillage land if conditions are suitable. This is subject to compliance with the Farming Rules for Water and there is agronomic justification. (NVZ Guidance)

February

1stFor any land located in a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ), you can, from this date, apply organic manure with a high, readily available nitrogen content (for example, slurry, poultry manures or liquid digested sewage sludge) to grassland and tillage land on all soil types if conditions are suitable and you adhere to the quantity restrictions for applying these manures. This is also subject to complying with the Farming Rules for Water and there being agronomic justification for applying manure. (NVZ Guidance)
28thFor any land located in an NVZ, this date is the end for quantity restrictions for applying organic manures with a high, readily available nitrogen content. This is subject to compliance with the Farming Rules for Water and there is agronomic justification. (NVZ Guidance)

March

1stNew hedgerow management rules came into force in May 2024. As part of this, the hedgerow management rules on cutting and trimming, announced that hedgerows covered by the rules must not be cut or trimmed before 31 August.
31st

If you hold a winter or all year-round water abstraction licence (authorising abstraction outside the period April to October), the Environment Agency will ask you to submit your record of actual 2023/2024 abstraction. You have 28 days to submit your record of actual abstraction to the Environment Agency. (GOV.UK)

April

1stYou must not burn heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse or vaccinium on land, other than in upland areas, from this date. (GOV.UK).
1stIf you hold a water abstraction licence, from 1 April the Environment Agency will generate and send you your annual bill (or first-part charge if you hold a two-part tariff agreement) for the forthcoming financial year (GOV.UK).
16thYou must not burn heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse or vaccinium in upland areas from this date. (GOV.UK).
30th

If your farm/land is located within a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ), by 30 April each year you must make a record of:

  • the numbers and type of livestock you kept in buildings or on hard standing during the previous storage period, as well as;
  • the dates for the start and end of use and locations of any field sites you use for storing solid manure.

You do not need to record the start and end dates for your use of field sites separately if you record them on your risk map.
You must keep these records for 5 years. (NVZ Guidance).

May

1st

You must not carry out hedge or tree coppicing or hedge laying from this date.                                                                     

July

1stNew hedgerow management rules came into force in May 2024. As part of this, the hedgerow management rules on buffer strips will apply from 1 July 2024. 

August

1stIf you have been granted a derogation by the RPA, you may be able to cut or trim hedges throughout August, to sow oilseed rape or temporary grassland. GOV.UK
1stStart of closed period for applying organic manure with a high readily available nitrogen content (for example, slurry, poultry manures or liquid digested sewage sludge) to tillage land on shallow or sandy soils except where crops will be sown on or before 15 September. GOV.UK

September

1stYou can cut or trim hedges and trees from this date. New hedgerow management rules came into force in May 2024. As part of this, the
hedgerow management rules on cutting and trimming announced that hedgerows covered by the rules must not be cut or trimmed until after 31 August 2024.
1stStart of closed period for applying organic manure with a high readily available nitrogen content (for example, slurry, poultry manures or liquid digested sewage sludge) to grassland on shallow or sandy soils.
1stStart of closed period for applying manufactured nitrogen fertilisers to tillage land.
15thStart of closed period for applying manufactured nitrogen fertilisers to grassland.
16thStart of closed period for applying organic manure with a high readily available nitrogen content (for example, slurry, poultry manures or liquid digested sewage sludge) to tillage land on shallow or sandy soils which have been sown with crops on or before 15 September.

October

1stYou can burn heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse or vaccinium on land in upland areas from this date.
1stStart of closed period for applying organic manure with a high readily available nitrogen content (for example, slurry, poultry manures or liquid digested sewage sludge) to tillage land on soils which are not shallow or sandy.
15thStart of closed period for applying organic manure with a high readily available nitrogen content (for example, slurry, poultry manures or liquid digested sewage sludge) to grassland on soils which are not shallow or sandy.
31stIf you hold a summer water abstraction licence (authorising abstraction wholly within the months of April to October), the Environment Agency will make actual abstraction return forms available to you from 31 October. You then have 28 days to send your readings to the Environment Agency.

November

1stYou can burn heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse or vaccinium on land, other than in upland areas, from this date.
30thIf you have a two-part tariff agreement for your water abstraction licence, expect to receive your second part charge after 30 November.

December

1stYou need to carry out your annual inventory of sheep and goats. You have until 31st December to submit it.  

The Rules for Farmers and Land Managers webpages on GOV.UK provides further detail on what you must do and specific compliance requirements when you keep livestock or manage land. These are grouped by farming activities rather than individual regulations so you can find the ones that apply to you.

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