Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) Handbook 2013 (NE349)
EF7 Beetle banks 580 points per ha

Figure 6 – Beetle bank

Beetle banks are tussocky grass ridges, generally about 2 m wide, which run from one side of a field to the other, while still allowing the field to be farmed. They provide habitat for ground-nesting birds, small mammals and insects (including those that feed on crop pests).

When carefully placed across the slope, such banks can help reduce run-off and erosion. However, you must ensure that they do not channel water instead and make existing problems worse. Do not locate beetle banks where their creation would cause damage to an archaeological feature.

For this option, you must comply with the following:

  • Create or maintain an earth ridge between 2 m and 4 m wide and about 0.4 m high. This can be created by careful two-directional ploughing. Alternatively, bed-forming equipment can be used, if available (except on archaeological features).
  • You may leave working gaps at each end of not more than 25 m, to allow machinery access.
  • Sow with a mixture of perennial grasses, including some tussock-forming varieties, such as cocksfoot or timothy.
  • Only apply herbicides to spot-treat or weed-wipe for the control of injurious weeds (ie creeping and spear thistles, curled and broad-leaved docks or common ragwort) or invasive non-native species (eg Himalayan balsam, rhododendron or Japanese knotweed).
  • You may need to cut the grass several times during the first summer to help establishment. Thereafter, only cut as necessary to prevent the encroachment of woody and suckering species. To avoid causing soil compaction, do not cut when wet.
  • Do not apply any other pesticides, fertilisers or manures.
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