Hay meadow management in the Pennine Dales, Northern England

  • Published source details Younger A. & Smith R.S. (1994) Hay meadow management in the Pennine Dales, Northern England. Joint meeting between the British Grassland Society and the British Ecological Society: Grassland management and nature conservation. British Grassland Society Occasional Symposium, 27-29 September 1993, University of Leeds, England, 28, 137-143.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Delay mowing or first grazing date on pasture or grassland

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Maintain species-rich, semi-natural grassland

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Delay mowing or first grazing date on pasture or grassland

    A controlled trial in 1990-1992 on a species rich upland meadow in the Pennines, northern England (Younger & Smith 1994) found that plant species richness was higher in plots cut in mid-July (on average 15 species/quadrat) than in plots cut in mid-June (13 species/quadrat). The meadow plant community was characterized by sweet vernal grass Anthoxanthum odoratum and wood cranesbill Geranium sylvaticum (MG3 under the UK National Vegetation Classification). Plants were surveyed in June 1992 in 25 x 25 cm quadrats, following two years of treatment. The number of replicates is not stated.

  2. Maintain species-rich, semi-natural grassland

    The same trial is described in (Younger & Smith 1994), which reports the number of plant species found under single applications of the same treatments. The four treatments that produced the highest species richness were cutting in mid-July, grazing in autumn and spring, grazing in autumn only, and applying no fertilizer. Each of these treatments produced on average 15 plant species/quadrat (25 x 25 cm). Cutting earlier, in mid-June reduced species richness to 13 species/quadrat. Although grazing reduced the hay yield (from 6 t/ha to 4-5 t/ha), it was necessary to maintain species richness. Under grazed treatments, 15 plant species/quadrat were recorded, compared to 12 species/quadrat with no grazing. Use of NPK fertilizer increased hay yield (from 4 to 6 t/ha), but reduced species richness (from 15 to 13 species/quadrat). Plants were surveyed in June 1992 and dry matter yield was measured at the time of cutting (averaged between 1990-1992). The number of replicates is not stated.


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