Study

Leaving final-cut grass silage in situ overwinter as a seed resource for declining farmland birds

  • Published source details Buckingham D.L. & Peach W.J. (2006) Leaving final-cut grass silage in situ overwinter as a seed resource for declining farmland birds. Biodiversity and Conservation, 15, 3827-3845.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Leave uncut rye grass in silage fields for birds

Action Link
Bird Conservation

Leave uncut strips of rye grass on silage fields

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Leave uncut rye grass in silage fields for birds

    A replicated, controlled study of four silage fields on separate dairy farms in England (Buckingham & Peach 2006) found that numbers of yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella, reed bunting Emberiza schoeniclus, wren Troglodytes troglodytes, song thrush Turdus philomelos and skylark  Alauda arvensis were higher in plots left to set seed compared to mown plots, and in ungrazed seeded plots compared to grazed seeded plots. Significantly higher numbers of yellowhammer were observed in seeded plots (458 birds seen) compared to mown (one bird) and in ungrazed seeded plots (423) than grazed seeded plots (35).  Reed buntings showed a similar response (seeded ungrazed: 160; grazed: 29; mown ungrazed: 3; grazed: 0).  As did wren (seeded ungrazed: 22, grazed: 1; mown ungrazed: 2, grazed: 0) and song thrush (seeded ungrazed: 7, grazed: 3; mown ungrazed: 4, grazed: 0).  There were more skylark in seeded than mown plots (18 vs. 0), and more in grazed (17) than ungrazed seeded plots (1).  Two of four plots (0.5 ha) in each field were left uncut when the third silage cut was taken in July-August 2002 so that the grass set seed.  One mown and one seeded plot was grazed by cattle until October, cattle were excluded from the other two plots.  Numbers and species of birds using each plot were recorded over eight one hour periods between November 2002 and February 2003.

     

  2. Leave uncut strips of rye grass on silage fields

    A replicated, controlled study of four silage fields on separate dairy farms in England (Buckingham & Peach 2006) found that numbers of yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella, reed bunting Emberiza schoeniclus, winter wren Troglodytes troglodytes, song thrush Turdus philomelos and Eurasian skylark Alauda arvensis were higher in plots left to set seed compared to mown plots, and in ungrazed seeded plots compared to grazed seeded plots. Significantly higher numbers of yellowhammer were observed in seeded plots (458 birds seen) compared to mown (one bird) and in ungrazed seeded plots (423) than grazed seeded plots (35). Reed bunting showed a similar response (seeded ungrazed: 160, grazed: 29; mown ungrazed: 3, grazed: 0). As did wren (seeded ungrazed: 22, grazed: 1; mown ungrazed: 2, grazed: 0) and song thrush (seeded ungrazed: 7, grazed: 3; mown ungrazed: 4, grazed: 0). There were more skylark in seeded than mown plots (18 vs 0), and more in grazed (17) than ungrazed seeded plots (1). Two of four plots (0.5 ha) in each field were left uncut when the third silage cut was taken in July-August 2002 so that the grass set seed. One mown and one seeded plot was grazed by cattle until October, cattle were excluded from the other two plots. Numbers and species of birds using each plot were recorded over eight 1 hour periods between November 2002 and February 2003.

     

Output references
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