Ecological priority areas when greening

Ecological priority areas (EPA)

All farming operations (with the exceptions listed below) have to preserve what are known as ecological priority areas for greening the EU crop payment schemes . These must amount to at least 5 % of the operation's gross field area. This means that cultivating crop rotation and diversification in cultivation are becoming increasingly important. Different measures can be taken into consideration and combined as EPA. Each measure is assigned a so-called weighting factor, which expresses the measure's significance. A combination of different measures is possible. It should be noted that each area can only be used for one measure per year of application.

Calculating ecological priority areas

Measure Scope of the measure in ha Weighting factor EPA for which an application can be made in ha
Decommissioning0.810.8
Buffer strips0.41.50.6
Legume cultivation2.00.71.4
Catch crop, undersown grass crop50.31.5
Landscape elements0.61.5 (to 2)0.9
   Sum 5.2

Table: Calculation of ecological priority areas by means of an example operation with 100 ha field area (5 % EPA = 5 ha)

Operations meeting one of the following criteria are excepted from the requirements made of ecological priority areas in the context of the agricultural reform:

  • < 15 ha field area
  • >75 % of the useful agricultural area = permanent pasture + feed crop production (without maize)
  • > 75 % of the field area = feed crop production (without maize) + set-aside fields + legumes

A good overview of possible measures is provided by the "Overview ecological priority areas" in the Planning tools Planning tools .
Answers to the question "What needs to be done?" can be found in our planning aid and also in the Planning tools Planning tools .