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Evaluating new legume and herb rich sward AE options - LM0468

Most grassland in England is dominated by perennial ryegrass with a low contribution from legumes and a few other plant species. It provides little pollen and nectar and supports a very limited number of species of invertebrates, birds or other animals. It is thought that it may represent a barrier to movement of many species which will hamper their adaptation to climate change.

Agri-environment Option EK21, and its organic equivalent OK21, are new options introduced in January 2013 to help meet these needs.

An initial survey of the option took place in 2014 for farms in the Environmental Stewardship scheme. The results from this re-survey will be used to inform future deployment and targeting of these options within the new Countryside Stewardship scheme, potential refinement of eligibility and prescriptions, reporting of progress towards meeting Biodiversity 2020 objectives and ultimately design of new options or measures in a future scheme
The objectives are to establish:
a. How agreement-holders have implemented these options and fitted them into their farming systems.
b. How successfully swards have been established and how closely they meet the prescription requirements. Further investigation of the role of the seed merchants in supplying the seed and any associated agronomic advice on its sowing and management will be required.
c. From management, soil and other relevant information, the reasons for the vegetation condition observed.
d. What contribution this option is making to soil organic matter status, particularly with regards to the duration of the ley, and how this has affected soil structure, particularly when compared to similar arable soils without a grass ley in the rotation.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : Final project report: Evaluating new legume and herb rich sward agri-environment options   (2227k)
• ANX - Annex : Site reports - Appendix   (4433k)
• TPS - Two Page Summary : Two page summary for project: Evaluating new legume and herb rich sward agri-environment options   (348k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2017

To: 2018

Cost: £150,000
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Climate Change              
Environmental Stewardship              
Natural Environment