Create a varied sward on some of your grassland (livestock farming)

01 February 2019

Wildlife
Cows grazing, the Chilterns

Grazing practices have a big effect on wildlife. Variation in vegetation structure (short to tall; sparse to tussocky) offers greater wildlife benefits than short swards. Grazing is vital to maintain diversity of structure.

Any grassland management practice that allows plants to flower and seed, even if only for a short period, will be beneficial. Some examples include:

  • Grazing a taller average sward height (9-12cm)
  • Deferred grazing systems
  • Leaving small areas uncut in mown or topped fields

This will boost wildlife opportunities as well as improving water infiltration into soil. You can target this approach on less productive grassland areas (either whole fields or to awkward corners, wet areas and buffer strips).

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