Study

SAFFIE - research into practice and policy

  • Published source details Ogilvy S.E., Clarke J.H., Wiltshire J.J.J., Harris D., Morris A. & Jones N. (2006) SAFFIE - research into practice and policy. Proceedings of the HGCA Conference, Arable crop protection in the balance: Profit and the environment, 14.1-14.12.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Plant cereals in wide-spaced rows

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Create skylark plots

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Create skylark plots for bird conservation

Action Link
Bird Conservation

Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Plant cereals in wide-spaced rows

    A replicated, controlled study in 2002 and 2003 on ten farms in England (Ogilvy et al. 2006) found that wide-spaced rows offered ‘significant benefits’ to Eurasian skylarks Alauda arvensis, but details were not given. The authors note that skylark plots were more consistently beneficial. Across fields as a whole there was a higher proportion of undesirable weed cover in fields with wide-spaced rows than fields with conventional spacing (4% weed cover vs 1.5%). However, a second experiment found no effect of wide-spaced rows on weed diversity, when compared to conventional herbicide treatment. In 2002, but not 2003, there were higher abundances of wolf spiders (Lycosidae) in fields with wide-spaced rows than control fields. Invertebrates, plants and skylarks were monitored. This study was part of the same replicated, controlled study (SAFFIE – Sustainable Arable Farming For an Improved Environment) as (Morris et al. 2004, Smith & Jones 2007, Smith et al. 2009).

  2. Create skylark plots

    A replicated, controlled study in 2002-2003 on ten farms in England (Ogilvy et al. 2006) found that 45% of 159 Eurasian skylark Alauda arvensis nests monitored were found in fields with skylark plots. By June, fields with skylark plots had 30% more skylarks and 100% more nests than control winter wheat fields with normal row spacing. At the start of the breeding season there was little difference in success between treatments, but by June, fields with skylark plots had more nests (1 nest/ha vs 0.4) and more chicks/nest than controls (1.75 chicks/nest vs 0.9). Over the whole season, nests in experimental fields raised 0.5 more chicks than controls and 1.5 more chicks than controls late in the season. Plots had significantly higher undesirable weed cover than surrounding crop (6% vs 4% weed cover), although cover in the field as a whole was no higher (2% vs 1.5%). In 2002, but not 2003, invertebrate species richness and abundance were higher in fields with patches, compared to controls. Invertebrates, plants and skylarks were monitored. This study was part of the same replicated, controlled study (SAFFIE – Sustainable Arable Farming For an Improved Environment) as Morris et al. 2004, Smith & Jones 2007, Smith et al. 2009.

  3. Create skylark plots for bird conservation

    A replicated, controlled study in 2002-3 on ten farms in England (Ogilvy et al. 2006) found that 45% of 159 Eurasian skylark nests monitored were found in fields with skylark plots.  By June, fields with plots held 30% more skylarks and 100% more nests than control fields. At the start of the breeding season there was little difference in success between treatments, but by June fields with plots in had more nests (1 nest/ha vs. 0.4) and more chicks/nest than controls (1.75 chicks/nest vs. 0.9). Over the whole season nests in experimental fields raised 0.5 more chicks per breeding attempt (and 1.5 more late in the season) than controls.

     

  4. Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields

    A replicated, controlled study in 2001-2005 on ten farms in England, UK (Ogilvy et al. 2006) found that of three margin types, birds favoured margins sown with a tussock grass and wildflower mix in 2003 and a fine grass and wildflower mix in 2004 to margins sown with grass species only. Flower abundance and species richness was highest in margins sown with a fine grass and wildflower mix and lowest in the standard grass mix margins. Bumblebee Bombus spp. abundance and species richness were highest on the tussock grass and wildflower mix and lowest on the standard grass margin mix. More birds were associated with scarified than cut grass margins in July 2004. Scarified margins had greater plant diversity and more unsown plant species. Cutting maintained plant species diversity in the grass and wildflower mixes. Grass-specific herbicide application benefited fine grass and flower species. The effects of management treatments on invertebrate abundance were habitat and group specific. Scarified margins had greater beetle (Coleoptera) and true bug (Hemiptera) diversity at some sites. Cutting and grass-specific herbicide application in both tussock grass and fine grass wildflower mixes increased abundance of true bugs and planthoppers (Fulgoroidea). Butterfly (Lepidoptera) diversity in the standard grass margins was enhanced by scarification, and increased in the tussock grass and wildflower mix through grass-specific herbicide application. In autumn 2001, three grass mixes (standard Countryside Stewardship Scheme mix, tussock grass and wildflower mix, fine-leaved grass and wildflower mix) were sown in 6 m-wide margins at three sites, with five replicates. From 2003 each margin type was subjected to three different management treatments: cutting, scarification or selective grass-specific herbicide application.

Output references

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, terrestrial mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 17

Go to the CE Journal

Subscribe to our newsletter

Please add your details if you are interested in receiving updates from the Conservation Evidence team about new papers, synopses and opportunities.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust