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SFI SOH4: Winter Cover following Maize Crops

News - 05.07.24

How to Get Paid for SOH4: A Simple Guide

The below is a summary of SOH4 Winter Cover Following Maize Crops. Full details of this scheme can be found at: SOH4: Winter cover following maize crops - GOV.UK (


Duration and Payment

Duration: 3 years
Payment: £203 per hectare (ha) per year

What are the Goals of SOH4?

  • Ensure cover crops are planted on land to prevent soil erosion and surface runoff.
  • Implement after early maize crop harvest.
  • Establish cover crops during winter.

What are the environmental benefits of SOH4?

  • Reduce soil erosion and surface runoff.
  • Decrease sediment, nutrient, and chemical losses in surface water.
  • Uptake nutrients to reduce nitrate leaching.

Reducing the Environmental Impact of Maize

Reducing the environmental impact of maize

Where can you implement SOH4 on your farm?

  • Applicable on agricultural land below the moorland line.
  • Suitable for land used to grow maize crops, not at risk of erosion or runoff (with written proof).
  • Must be eligible land type, (see section 5.1 ‘Eligible land types for SFI’) correctly registered on digital maps, and have compatible land use codes, (see land use code).

What land types are eligible for this scheme?

  • Arable land (crops, temporary grassland, or fallow land)
  • Specific land use codes: arable crops, nitrogen-fixing crops, TG01 (temporary grassland), FA01 (fallow land)
Eligible land type Eligible land cover Compatible land use code
Arable land used
to grow crops

Land use codes for arable crops or leguminous and nitrogen-fixing crops

Temporary grassland Arable
Arable land
lying fallow


Eligibility of protected land

  • SSSIs: Eligible with SSSI consent.
  • Historic/Archaeological Sites: Eligible with HEFER consent.

Protected land Eligibility
Sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) Eligible – you must get SSSI consent before you do this action (read section 5.5 ‘Land that’s a site of special scientific interest (SSSI)’)
Historic and archaeological features Eligible – you must get a HEFER before you do this action read section 5.6 ‘Land with historic or archaeological features’)

Available area you can enter into this action

  • Can cover all or part of a land parcel.
  • Can be rotational (change location yearly) or static (same location each year).


What to do

  • After maize harvest, establish a winter cover crop not for commercial harvest.
  • Options include quick-growing crops post-harvest or maintaining under-sown crops from earlier in the year.
  • Cover crop should protect soil with leafy vegetation and minimal bare soil.
  • No fertilizers or manures on the cover crop.
  • Minimize risks when destroying the cover crop.

If You Can't Comply:
Inform the Rural Payments Agency in writing if adverse conditions prevent compliance.

Read section 13.2 ‘What you must do if you cannot comply with your agreement’.

Agrii Maize Master

Specifically formulated for under sowing within maize crops

Maize Master

When to do it

  • Complete the action each year over three years.
  • Start within 12 months if the initial date is too late.
  • In the final year, continue until the end of winter or the action’s end date.


How to do it

Follow all mandatory requirements to meet the action’s goals.
Detailed advice will be provided before full launch in summer 2024. Speak to your local Agrii Agronomist or Environmental Services Advisor for support and clarification. 


What evidence you need to keep

  • Keep written evidence proving land is not at risk of erosion/runoff.
    You can use the soil management plan produced for CSAM1 or SAM1 to identify this.
  • Record field operations and keep invoices and photos.
  • Be ready to provide evidence if requested. If it’s not clear that you’ve done this action in a way that could reasonably be expected to achieve its aim, you may be asked for this evidence.


Compatible actions or options you can do on the same area as SOH4

  • Some actions can be done on the same area if timed differently (e.g., winter cover followed by a summer crop).
  • Refer to specific codes for compatible actions in different schemes (SFI 2024, SFI 2023, CS options).
Scheme Action or option codes
SFI 2024 actions OFC3, OFM4, AGF1, AGF2, PRF1, PRF2, PRF3, PRF4, SOH1, CIPM1, CIPM4, CNUM1, CSAM1
SFI 2023 actions IPM1, IPM4, NUM1, SAM1
CS options OR3, OT3
ES options No ES revenue options
SFI pilot standards No area-based SFI pilot standards

If an action or option cannot be located on the same area, you may be able to do it on a different area in the same land parcel.

Read section 6. ‘Eligible land in other funding schemes’ for more information.

You can do the following actions or options on the eligible boundaries of a land parcel entered into this action:

  • SFI 2024 actions: CHRW1, CHRW2, CHRW3, BND1, BND2 and WBD2
  • SFI 2023 actions: HRW1, HRW2, HRW3
  • CS option BE3 (management of hedgerows)
  • The introductory level of the SFI pilot hedgerows standard
Adam Simper National Grass, Roots and Environmental Seeds Manager

Get in Touch


LISTEN: Getting the Most from your Maize

n this episode we are talking to Ben Lowe, National Forage Product Manager at Agrii. Today we will be finding out what the future holds for maize, with a focus on key areas that we need to consider before we put the crop in the ground.

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