Management of stubble-set-aside for invertebrates important in the diet of breeding farmland birds

  • Published source details Moreby S.J. & Southway S. (2000) Management of stubble-set-aside for invertebrates important in the diet of breeding farmland birds. Aspects of Applied Biology, 62, 39-46.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide or retain set-aside areas in farmland

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Provide or retain set-aside areas in farmland

    A replicated, controlled, paired sites comparison study of 51 set-aside and wheat fields on 30 farms in southern and eastern England (Moreby & Southway 2000) found that stubble set-aside had more spiders (Araneae) and leafhoppers (Auchenorrhyncha), higher weed cover and greater plant species diversity, whilst wheat had more beetles (Coleoptera). Set-aside fields had 16 spiders, 16 leafhoppers, 0.7 leaf beetles (Chrysomelidae), 0.5 ground beetles (Carabidae) and 0.4 soldier beetles (Cantharidae)/sample on average. Wheat fields had 11 spiders, 9 leafhoppers, 0.3 leaf beetles, 0.3 ground beetles and 0.3 soldier beetles/sample on average. Numbers did not differ between set-aside and wheat for true bugs (Heteroptera; 5-6/sample), larvae of butterflies, moths (Lepidoptera) and sawflies (Tenthredinidae; 0.2-0.5 larvae/sample) or weevils (Curculionidae) (0.2 vs 0.1). Cutting set-aside (to 10-15 cm) tended to decrease invertebrate numbers compared to topping (to 25 cm) or leaving it uncut. Weed cover and diversity were significantly higher on set-aside (cover: 32%; species: 99) compared to wheat (cover: 3%; species: 41). Set-aside fields were naturally regenerated after harvest. Wheat fields received pesticides.  Invertebrates were sampled using a D-Vac suction sampler in each set-aside and adjacent wheat field in June-July.  Weed cover was sampled in 10 random quadrats (0.25 m²) per field.


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