BD5207: Extensive cattle grazing: what is the best approach to improve species-poor pastures for birds and invertebrates? (Phase 2) (RP00196)

Phase 1 of this Defra funded project tried reducing grazing pressure and ceasing grazing. Reduced grazing increased invertebrates but not bird usage. No grazing increased invertebrates but caused unacceptable sward deterioration. A separate study tested mowing and forage harvesting to reduce skylark nest losses. These were potentially successful but difficult to incorporate into modern farming. Phase 2 tested modified techniques.

Project details

Start date2005-04-01
End date2013-03-29

Project outputs

This project produced the following outputs:

Final report and summaryDefra publication

Closing statement

The recommendations from this study have been used to guide ongoing development of the English agri-environment schemes. The work showed that restricting fertiliser alone will not produce suitable pasture for invertebrates and that sward height control is needed if extensive cattle grazing is going to provide suitable forage sites for birds.