Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) Handbook 2013 (NE349)
UPDATED in 2013
EF10 Unharvested cereal headlands for birds and rare arable plants
330 points per ha

This option provides a year-round food supply for birds, and habitat for arable plants and insects, within any arable field over 2 cropping years. It will deliver most benefit when sited next to a buffer strip, stubble or area managed for wild bird seed or nectar flower mixtures.

Unharvested 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.
  • You can sow the headland in either autumn or spring (do not leave as bare ground over the winter) and leave it unharvested until the following spring (1 March), before resuming normal management.
  • Sow and manage a 3 m-24 m wide cereal headland along the edge of any arable crop, ensuring that any areas of soil compaction are removed prior to establishment, except on archaeological features.
  • Sow a cereal or cereal mixture at a reduced seed rate, to encourage a more open headland structure. On more difficult or weedy sites, conventional seed rates can be used.
  • 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, dicloflop-methyl + fenoxaprop-P-ethyl, tralkoxydim, clodinafop-propargyl or pinoxaden.

This open and herb-rich headland will provide
feeding habitat through the summer and winter

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