Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) Handbook 2013 (NE349)
G Options to encourage a range of crop types

The decline of mixed farming is one of the causes of the falling number of farmland birds in England.


EG1 Undersown spring cereals 200 points per ha

The addition of a grass/legume mix as an understorey to the cereal crop will reduce the need for agrochemical inputs, increase the diversity of habitat provided in the field and benefit farm wildlife.

This is a 'rotational option'. This means that it can move around the farm within the normal arable rotation, but the same total hectarage must be maintained each year.

For this option, you must comply with the following:

  • Undersow a spring cereal crop (but not maize) with a grass ley, including at least 10 per cent legume by weight but no more than 30 per cent.
  • Establish the cereal crop between 14 February and 20 April.
  • Keep the undersown plant growth until the cereal crop is harvested. This must not be before 1 July or before the cereal crop is fully ripe.
  • Do not destroy the grass ley before 15 July of the following year.
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