Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) Handbook 2013 (NE349)
UPDATED in 2013
UL18 Cattle grazing on upland grassland and moorland
30 points per ha

Cattle grazing can help maintain a good mix of sward heights


This option is only available on permanent grassland within the SDA. It can only be used on whole-fields.

Cattle grazing encourages a diversity of sward structure and plant and invertebrate species, which in turn can be beneficial to a variety of ecological and historic features, in particular several important farmland bird species. It also contributes to the distinctive colour and patterning of local landscapes through mixed grazing systems. Cattle grazing on moorland can help to protect the growth of heather by controlling bracken and the development of coarse grassland.

This option is only available on land that is grazed by a significant number of cattle, expressed as a minimum proportion of the total grazing LUs. The remaining proportion of the grazing LUs can be made up of the same types of livestock or other types of livestock, such as sheep, ponies, goats and domesticated deer. The grass cover must be in place for the full duration of the agreement.

For this option, you must comply with the following:

  • A minimum of 30 per cent of the LUs must be grazing cattle.
  • Supplementary feeding is allowed, but move feeders as often as required to avoid poaching. Do not feed on or next to archaeological features, steep slopes, footpaths or watercourses.
  • Keep a record of all livestock grazing the parcels in this option.

You may not wish to graze cattle on the same land each year. Therefore, the percentage of cattle LUs grazing the land is calculated over a two-year period. This allows you to graze cattle on the selected parcels of land entered into this option in alternate years. If you choose to graze them on the land in alternate years, at least 60 per cent of the LUs on the land parcel must be in the form of cattle in one of the two years.

Grazed woodlands can be included provided that most of the woodland (ie over 50 per cent of the area) consists of moorland and grassland that is accessible for grazing and that the compulsory requirements (UX2 and/or UX3) can also be applied.

A year-round record must be made of the stock actually grazing the land. LUs are calculated on a field-by-field basis using the LU conversion factors shown in Appendix 4.

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