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20. The Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme


The new LFA Support Scheme (LFASS) has introduced a number of new or strengthened elements, in particular after revisions in 2003 and 2004. The calculation of the area based entitlements depends on eligible forage hectares, livestock units and grazing categories, fragility categories of areas, and an environmental element such as the livestock mix maintained. The Scottish Executive (2004) has outlined a four-step procedure to calculate the entitlements:

  • The amount of eligible forage hectares needs to take into account any ineligible dairy activities and minimum and maximum stocking density obligations.

In his step the amount of forage hectares will be reduced by the ineligible dairy land, the area used for dairy activities, applying the following equation:
Total liters of milk quota / 5730 * 0.80 = Ineligible dairy land

To avoid over-compensation of LFA farmers minimum and maximum stocking densities apply. If the stocking density is less than the defined minimum of 0.12 lu/ha the entitlement will be based on the number of hectares that would have been required to support the livestock actually maintained, at 0.12 lu/ha (the minimum stocking density). Maximum stocking density is defined as 1.4 lu/ha, using the ratio of maximum stocking density and actual stocking density to adjust the amount of eligible hectares, if the maximum stocking density is exceeded.

  • The number of eligible hectares needs to be multiplied by the hectare values of the different grazing categories defined by stocking density to calculate the adjusted amount of eligible hectares.

The Table 20.1 summarises the different grazing categories, stocking densities and the hectare values allocated to the grazing categories:

Table 20.1 . Hectare values of the different grazing categories

Grazing category Stocking density (in lu/ha) Hectare value


Up to 0.19



0.2 – 0.39



0.4 – 0.59



0.6 and more


  • If at least 10 percent of the livestock units are cattle, the adjusted eligible hectares needs to be multiplied by an enterprise mix multiplier rewarding environmental and socio-economic benefits of keeping cattle in LFAs.

The enterprise mix or hectare multiplier is equal 1.35, if between 10 percent and 50 percent of livestock units are cattle. If 50 percent or more of livestock units are cattle, a higher multiplier of 1.7 applies.

  • Finally, the adjusted eligible hectares need to be multiplied by the appropriate payment rates depending on fragility markers (standard, fragile, very fragile), defined by lower and higher transport costs and island locations.

Grazing categories (A, B, C and D) are put in two groups differentiating between more and less disadvantaged land. These two groups have different payment rates as outlined in the Table 20.2:

Table 20.2 : Payment rates in £ per adjusted hectare

Land category
Areas with lower transport costs
Mainland areas of disadvantage and higher transport costs
“very fragile”

More disadvantaged land (A + B)




Less disadvantaged land (C + D)




The scheme contains also a minimum payment of £350 per farm. However, a farm must have at least 3 hectares of eligible forage land and submitted a AAA base form to qualify for the LFASS. Examples for the exact calculation of entitlements are outlined in SEERAD (2004). Based on EC Regulations 1750/1999 and 1257/1999 farmers must comply with SEERAD’s Good Farming Practice Guidelines, including a newly introduced requirement to adhere to minimum standards of animal welfare, to qualify for the LFASS farmers. Moreover, in 2004 SEERAD introduced 5 more environmental controls farmers must comply with. These environmental controls aim at maintaining landscape, biodiversity and habitats of conservation value and at avoiding negative implications of overgrazing and unsuitable farming.

The Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme - Uptake >>