Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) Handbook 2013 (NE349)
UPDATED in 2013
EF9 Cereal headlands for birds
100 points per ha

This option provides an important food supply for birds, and habitat for arable plants and insects, within any arable field during the cropping year. It will deliver most benefit when sited next to a buffer strip, stubble or area planted for wild bird seed or nectar flower mixtures.

Unfertilised cereal headlands can be difficult to manage where grass weeds are a problem, particularly where herbicide resistance is present. If an unexpected weed infestation occurs and becomes unmanageable, select a less weedy location in following years.

This is a 'rotational option'. This means that the headlands can move around the farm within the normal arable rotation, but the same total hectarage must be maintained each year. The headlands can also remain in the same place in the field. This will be especially beneficial where scarce arable plants are present.

For this option, you must comply with the following:

  • Do not apply fertilisers or manures to the headland between harvest of the previous crop and resuming normal management.
  • Sow and manage a 3 m-24 m wide cereal headland along the edge of an arable crop.
  • Do not apply insecticides between 15 March and the following harvest.
  • Only the following herbicides can be applied to control problem grass and broad-leaved weeds:
    • for broad-leaved weeds, only use amidosulfuron, and only between 1 February and 31 March; and
    • for grass weeds, use the following active ingredients only - tri-allate, fenoxaprop-P-ethyl, diclofl opmethyl + fenoxaprop-P-ethyl, tralkoxydim, clodinafop-propargyl or pinoxaden.
  • Where weed growth threatens harvest, you may use a pre-harvest desiccant, unless you plan to use this area as overwintered stubble (see Options EF22 or EF6).
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