Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) Handbook 2013 (NE349)
New in 2013
EE12 Supplement to add wildflowers to field corners and buffer strips on cultivated land

63 points per ha

Please note this option is subject to approval by the European Commission.

The aim of this supplement is to create flower-rich areas on cultivated land that will provide valuable sources of food for invertebrates and birds, and a greater diversity and structure of vegetation compared to grass only areas.

This supplement can only be used with options EC24, EE1-EE3, EE9, EF1, EJ5 and EJ9. It must not be used to sow wild flowers into established buffer strips, field corners and in-field grass areas unless the areas are present at the start of the agreement and will be managed to ensure successful flower establishment in the first year.

You must follow the management for the base option except the sowing and cutting requirements and in addition comply with the following:

  • By the end of the first 12 months of the agreement, establish a mix or maintain existing areas containing fine-leaved grasses (such as crested dog’s tail, chewings fescue, slender red fescue, smooth-stalked meadow grass and common bent) and flowers (such as knapweed, bird’s-foot trefoil, self-heal, oxeye daisy, yarrow, wild red clover and wild carrot).
  • Where sown, the flower component must be included at a minimum seed rate of 1.0 kg/ha.
  • Do not sow tussock-forming grasses such as cocksfoot, meadow foxtail and meadow fescue, as these can swamp the wild flowers.
  • By the beginning of year three, there must be at least five flower species (excluding injurious weeds) and three fine-leaved grass species present frequently across the flower-rich area. Maintain this floristic area for the duration of your agreement.
  • Regular cutting and removal of cuttings in the first 12 months after sowing may be needed to ensure successful establishment of sown species.
  • After establishment, cut the whole area to 10 cm between 1 August and 30 September, removing cuttings to avoid patches of dead material developing. If excess vegetation threatens to suppress the flowers, cut again the following March or April providing no birds are nesting in the flower-rich area.
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