Study

Effects of hay cut date, grazing and fertilizer on plant seed shed at Gillet Farm, Upper Teesdale, County Durham, England

  • Published source details Smith R.S., Pullan S. & Shiel R.S. (1996) Seed shed in the making of hay from mesotrophic grassland in a field in northern England: Effects of hay cut date, grazing and fertilizer in a split-split-plot experiment. Journal of Applied Ecology, 33, 833-841

Actions

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

Reduce grazing intensity on grassland (including seasonal removal of livestock)

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Reduce chemical inputs in grassland management

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

    A replicated study over one year of a neutral meadow grassland at a farm in England (Smith et al. 1996) found that delaying mowing resulted in an increase of grass and broadleaved flowering plant seeds. Numbers of grass seeds increased from the June to September cut, the most flowering plant seeds were present in the July (traditional) cut and the least in the September cut. The overall broadleaved flowering plant/grass seed quotient decreased from 2.9 in June, to 0.8 in July, to 0.2 in September. Seventeen species showed significant differences in the amount of seed extracted according to cut date. The meadow was divided into nine contiguous 20 x 30 m plots in 1990. Treatments were a June cut (mineral fertilizer), July cut (no fertilizer, autumn cattle grazing, spring sheep grazing), September cut. Vegetation was cut at 3 cm in three randomly placed 0.06 m² quadrats and seed collected.

  2. Reduce grazing intensity on grassland (including seasonal removal of livestock)

    A small randomized study over one year of a neutral meadow grassland at a farm in England (Smith et al. 1996) found that only four plant species exhibited significant differences in seed number as a result of grazing intensity. More Yorkshire fog Holcus lanatus was recorded when there was no grazing, more yellow oat grass Trisetum flavescens with autumn grazing and more downy oat-grass Avenula pubescens and creeping buttercup Ranunculus repens with autumn and spring grazing. The three grazing treatments were randomly applied to three plots. Vegetation was cut at 3 cm in three randomly placed 0.06 m² quadrats and seed collected.

     

  3. Reduce chemical inputs in grassland management

    A replicated study over one year of a neutral meadow grassland at a farm in England (Smith et al. 1996) found that fertilizer treatments significantly affected seed numbers for a small number of plant species. More downy oat-grass Avenula pubescens seed was recorded where fertilizer had been applied, conversely there was less ribwort plantain Plantago lanceolata, yellow rattle Rhinanthus minor and common daisy Bellis perennis. The meadow was divided into nine contiguous 20 x 30 m plots in 1990. Treatments were mineral fertilizer (June cut), no fertilizer (July cut, autumn cattle grazing, spring sheep grazing) and a September cut. The long-term management of the meadow prior to the experiment involved manure spreading in April-May each year. Vegetation was cut at 3 cm in three randomly placed 0.06 m² quadrats and seed collected.

     

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 18

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.


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