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Individual study: Assessing the vegetation response to differing establishment methods of Skylark Plots in winter wheat at Grange Farm, Cambridgeshire, England

Published source details

Dillon I.A., Morris A.J., Bailey C.M. & Uney G. (2009) Assessing the vegetation response to differing establishment methods of Skylark Plots in winter wheat at Grange Farm, Cambridgeshire, England. Conservation Evidence, 6, 89-97


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Create skylark plots Farmland Conservation

A replicated study of skylark plot establishment in two wheat fields in 2008-2009 in Cambridgeshire, UK (Dillon et al. 2009) found that plots left undrilled had greater vegetation cover than those established by spraying out with herbicide.  Vegetation cover within sprayed plots (sprayed out in December, January or February) tended to remain very low (<30%), particularly in February-sprayed plots (<10%), undrilled plots had 54% cover in July. Increase in cover in undrilled plots was related to a greater abundance of crop (May 5%, July 8%) and blackgrass Alopecurus myosuroides (May 10%, July 40%). Cover of both crop and blackgrass remained low in all sprayed treatments (blackgrass: < 5%; crop: <2%). Plots following spring beans tended to have greater vegetation cover than those following oilseed rape. Undrilled plots had significantly taller vegetation (17-29 cm) than sprayed plots (July: 2-13 cm). A total of 56-65 plots were established/year by leaving them undrilled during wheat drilling, or by spraying out using a glyphosate herbicide until the density of plots was at least 2 plots/ha. Presence of bare ground, crop, blackgrass and charlock Sinapis arvensis were sampled in May, June and July in ten 0.25 m² quadrats/plot. Maximum vegetation height was also recorded in June and July.