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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual 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


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Delay mowing or first grazing date on pasture or grassland Farmland Conservation

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.

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

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.

 

Reduce chemical inputs in grassland management Farmland Conservation

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.