The Organic Farming Scheme payment is computed on the basis of a minimum stocking rate of 32.5 kg per hectare per annum of livestock manure nitrogen. This is the equivalent of 0.5 suckler cows per hectare, which is an extensive stocking rate.
Farmers not achieving this stocking level receive payment on a pro-rata basis. A minimum stocking level is considered important in organic production systems for effective grassland management, to ensure productive swards and to maintain and improve biodiversity. It also means supply of organic produce meeting supply chain requirements and consumer demands.
The maximum stocking rate allowed is 170 kg per ha per annum of livestock manure nitrogen. A level of farming above 170 kg per hectare per annum is considered to be intensive farming and therefore not compliant with organic farming Regulations.