Action: Reduce chemical inputs in permanent grassland management
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A randomised, replicated, controlled study from the UK found that no more foraging birds were attracted to pasture plots with no fertiliser, compared to control plots.
Reducing chemical inputs into permanent grasslands is often used in conjunction with reducing the mowing height or delaying the first mowing or grazing date on grasslands. Studies that examine several of these interventions at once are discussed in ‘Threat: Agriculture – Reduce management intensity on permanent grasslands’.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A randomised, replicated, controlled trial on four farms in southwest England, in 2003-6 (DEFRA 2007), found that no more foraging birds were attracted to 12, 50 ´ 10 m plots of permanent pasture with no fertiliser impact, compared to 12 control (conventionally managed) plots. Experimental plots were managed in the same way as control plots except for the lack of fertiliser, and all plots were cut twice in May and July, and grazed in autumn/winter. This study also discusses several other interventions including ‘Reduce management intensity on permanent grasslands’.