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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Grass field margin management for enhancing beetle diversity on intensive livestock farms in Somerset and Devon, England

Published source details

Woodcock B.A., Potts S.G., Pilgrim E., Ramsay A.J., Tscheulin T., Parkinson A., Smith R.E.N., Gundrey A.L., Brown V.K. & Tallowin J.R. (2007) The potential of grass field margin management for enhancing beetle diversity in intensive livestock farms. Journal of Applied Ecology, 44, 60-69


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

Raise mowing height on grasslands to benefit farmland wildlife Farmland Conservation

A randomised, replicated, controlled trial from 2003 to 2005 on four farms in southwest England (Woodcock et al. 2007) (same study as (Defra 2007, Potts et al. 2009)) found that 50 x 10 m plots of permanent pasture cut to 10 cm in May and July had similar numbers of beetles (Coleoptera) and beetle species to control plots cut to 5 cm. There were twelve replicates of each management type, monitored over three years.

 

Delay mowing or first grazing date on pasture or grassland Natural Pest Control

A replicated, randomised, controlled trial in 2003-2005 on four farms in the southwest UK (Woodcock et al. 2007) (same study as Woodcock et al. 2009) found that 50 x 10 m plots of permanent pasture with delayed cutting (cut in July) had similar numbers of predatory beetles (Coleoptera) and slightly more seed- or flower-feeding beetles than plots cut in May. There were similar numbers of root or stem feeding beetles and foliage feeding beetles in plots cut in May and plots cut in July. Overall beetle numbers were similar between treatments, but there were slightly more beetle species in plots cut in July (30-38 species) than cut in May (27-34 species). The study also showed that reducing the management intensity on margins (by reducing or removing fertilizer, cutting and/or grazing) increased the fraction of seed- and flower-feeding beetles in the beetle community over the three years. The study tested seven treatments: cutting in May vs. July; cutting to 5 cm vs. 10 cm; grazing vs. no grazing; fertilizer vs. No fertilizer; and a treatment with no management. Treatments were replicated 12 times.

Reduce chemical inputs in grassland management Farmland Conservation

A randomized, replicated, controlled trial in 2003-2005 on four farms in southwest England (Woodcock et al. 2007), (same study as (Defra 2007, Potts et al. 2009)) found that 50 x 10 m plots of permanent pasture cut just once in July or not at all during the summer and left unfertilized attracted a greater abundance and more species of beetle (Coleoptera) than control fertilized plots cut in May and July (managed for silage), in the third year of monitoring. Plots without fertilizer added also had higher proportions of seed- and flower- feeding beetle species in the community. There were twelve replicates of each management type, monitored over three years.

 

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

A randomized, replicated, controlled trial on four farms in southwest England (Woodcock et al. 2007) (same study as (Defra 2007, Potts et al. 2009)) found that 50 x 10 m plots of permanent pasture managed without autumn/winter grazing had similar numbers of beetles (Coleoptera) and beetle species to control grazed plots. All plots were cut for silage in May and July. There were twelve replicates of each management type, monitored over three years (2003-2005).

 

Reduce management intensity on permanent grasslands (several interventions at once) Farmland Conservation

In the same randomized, replicated, controlled study as (Defra 2007) in southwest England, (Woodcock et al. 2007) found that 50 x 10 m plots of permanent pasture cut just once in July or not at all during the summer and left unfertilized attracted a greater abundance and more species of beetle (Coleoptera) than control fertilized plots cut in May and July, in the third year of monitoring. Plots without fertilizer added also had higher proportions of seed- and flower-feeding beetle species in the community. There were twelve replicates of each management type, monitored over three years (2003-2005). This study was also part of the same study as (Pilgrim et al. 2007, Potts et al. 2009)).