Study

Grass conservation headlands - adapting an arable technique for the grassland farmer

  • Published source details Haysom K.A., McCracken D.I., Foster G.N. & Sotherton N.W. (1999) Grass conservation headlands - adapting an arable technique for the grassland farmer. Aspects of Applied Biology, 54, 171-178.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Leave uncut strips of rye grass on silage fields

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Leave headlands in fields unsprayed (conservation headlands)

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Leave uncut strips of rye grass on silage fields

    A replicated, controlled, randomized study in 1996-1997 of a silage field headland in Scotland (Haysom et al. 1999) found that ground beetle (Carabidae) abundance and diversity did not differ significantly in cut and uncut headlands. Total abundance of ground beetles was highest in headlands cut three-times each year (105-201), followed by those cut annually (43-157), and those uncut (44-132). Specific species differed in their response to cutting regimes. In 1996, species diversity was highest in headlands cut three times each year (12), followed by those cut once (10) and uncut (9). In 1997, diversity in headlands cut once (14) was higher than uncut (11) and headlands cut three times (10) (results from 1997 are also presented in (Haysom et al. 2004)). Cutting regimes were assigned randomly within blocks to three 10 x 10 m plots. Cuts were in August and May, June and August. Cattle were excluded April-October and plots were intermittently grazed by sheep October-February. No pesticides were used and fertilizers were not used in the headland. Ground beetles were sampled using pitfall traps in late May-mid-July and late August-early October. Three pitfall traps parallel to the field edge were placed in the centre of each plot. Results from the third year of the experiment are presented in (Haysom et al. 2004).

     

  2. Leave headlands in fields unsprayed (conservation headlands)

    A replicated, controlled, randomized study in 1996-1997 of a silage field in Scotland (Haysom et al. 1999) found that ground beetle (Carabidae) abundance and diversity was not consistently higher in headlands (no fertilizers or pesticides) than in main fields (fertilizers, no pesticides). Total abundance of ground beetles was higher mid-field (128-278 individuals) than in the headland (43-201). The field boundary had an intermediate abundance in 1996 (77 individuals) and a higher abundance in 1997 (612). In 1996, species diversity was higher mid-field (13) than in the headland (9-12). This trend was reversed in 1997 (headland: 10-14, mid-field: 6), the field boundary had the highest diversity both years (16-32). The headland received three treatments: uncut, annual cut (August) and three annual cuts (May, June, August). These were assigned randomly within blocks to three 10 x 10 m plots. Cattle were excluded April-October and plots were intermittently grazed by sheep October-February. Ground beetles were sampled using pitfall traps in late May to mid-July and late August to early October. There was a line of three pitfall traps in the centre of each plot, within the field boundary and three rows in the main field, 80 m from the field edge. Results from 1997 are also presented in (Haysom et al. 2004).

     

Output references
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