Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) Handbook 2013 (NE349)
UPDATED in 2013
UL20 Haymaking
60 points per ha

This option is only available on SDA land below the Moorland Line. It can only be used on whole-fields.

This option aims to ensure the continuation, or re-introduction, of haymaking on fields which are, or were, cut for hay each year. Hay meadows generally have a greater diversity of wildflowers, and associated wildlife, than fields cut for silage because they receive smaller amounts of manure and inorganic fertiliser and are cut at a later stage of growth, enabling flowers to set seed.

This option can also help to reduce diffuse pollution, as well as reinforcing the landscape character of the area. It will also help ensure haymaking techniques and traditions are not lost to future generations.

To obtain maximum benefits for wildlife, this option should be co-located with EL3 Permanent grassland with very low inputs in an SDA.

For this option, you must comply with the following:

  • Cut and remove hay or haylage once every year.
  • Do not cut before 5 July.
  • If you make haylage, you must turn the swath at least once and wilt for at least 48 hours.
  • Graze the aftermath to achieve an average sward height of no more than 8 cm by the end of the grazing season.
  • Where spring grazing of meadows is a traditional practice, exclude livestock for at least 7 weeks before cutting and by 30 May at the latest.

The later cutting dates associated with haymaking
allow more wildflowers to set seed

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