ARCHIVE: Entry Level Stewardship Handbook 2005 (PB10355)
EK4 Management of rush pastures (outside the LFA)

This option is available for fields where at least a third of the field area is covered by rushes. Damp pasture on farmland is a very important potential habitat for lapwing, curlew, redshank, snipe and reed bunting. Different types of waders like different vegetation heights, so a variety in the sward structure is most beneficial.

For this option you must:

  • Do not apply more than 50 kg/ha nitrogen per year as inorganic fertiliser. Where animal manures are applied, either alone or in addition to inorganic fertiliser, the total rate of nitrogen must not exceed 100 kg/ha N per year (see appendix 2 for N conversion table). Do not apply between 1 April and 31 May. If your current manure or fertiliser regime is less than this you must not increase applications.
  • Cut rush dominated fields each calendar year, but not between 15 March and 1 August. Cut no more than a third of the area of rushes in each field (or a third of the fields if they are small) in rotation. It may be impractical to cut rushes in the wettest flushes, and therefore these can be left. Cattle trampling may help to control these areas.
  • Where possible graze the aftermath with cattle.
  • Once cut, if rushes are not controlled by aftermath grazing, a second cut should be carried out within eight weeks, but not between 1 April and 1 August.
  • Apply herbicides only to spot treat or weed wipe for the control of injurious weeds (i.e. creeping or spear thistle, curled or broadleaved dock, or common ragwort), or invasive alien species (e.g. Himalayan balsam, rhododendron or Japanese knotweed).

EK4, 150 points per ha over the whole field

Damp pasture - a valuable habitat for nesting birds
Defra (David Shenton)

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