New winter cover crop scheme for Norfolk


Natural England has launched a new winter cover crop scheme in Norfolk. The aim of this standalone scheme is to establish a fast-growing winter cover crop as soon as possible following the harvest to provide cover over the winter period.

Cover crops reduce nitrate leaching on land that might otherwise be left bare during the winter. Their use can also help reduce the risk of potential pollutants like sediment or nutrients being carried into nearby waterways. Crop cover can also benefit local biodiversity, as they can maintain some habitat connectivity throughout the winter months. Due to their nitrogen-fixing qualities, clovers like Alsike and Crimson are a popular choice for winter cover.

This scheme will be used on land within the Broads SAC/Ramsar and River Wensum SAC nutrient neutrality catchment. If unsure, landowners can check this map to see whether their land falls within the eligible area.

The rate is £160 per hectare each year.

Cover crops already funded by another scheme, such as Countryside Stewardship and the Sustainable Farming Incentive, are not eligible.   

The application process is administered by the Nutrient Mitigation Team at Natural England and is intended to be straightforward.

Read the documents below to learn more about the scheme, including the length of agreements, the minimum land area, where to use, choice of seed mix, establishment, payment terms, and management and destruction information.

Winter cover crop agreements flyer


Application form


Additional guidance


Agreement (prescription version)