Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Test valley ESA: a study of the impact of stocking rate guidelines - BD0307

Description
A key restriction imposed on agreement holders within the Test Valley ESA is a limit on stocking rate on unimproved grassland (Tier 1B; maximum permitted stocking density 0.75-1.5/ha in April and May, recommended range 0.7-1.5 LU/ha from June to October) in order to minimise damage to ground nesting birds and maximise seeding of wild flowers and grasses. However, there is concern that the current guidelines are unduly restrictive and may not be meeting the objectives of the scheme. This study will aim to evaluate the effect of the current stocking rate guidelines on grassland production and livestock systems in the Test Valley ESA, with regard to the value of the guidelines in protecting and enhancing the ESA’s botanical and ornithological value. As part of this study, the views of English Nature, RSPB and other organisations will be sought. Recommendations on whether the guidelines should be revised will then be made, together with likely effectiveness of such changes in better meeting the objectives of the ESA. The research will increase understanding of the way in which river valley grassland is used within farming systems and will have implications for ecology, entomology and ornithology as well as agriculture.
Objective
To evaluate the effect of the current stocking rate guidelines on grassland production and livestock systems in the ESA, and their value in protecting and enhancing its landscape, botanical and ornithological value. This will include seeking the views of English Nature, RSPB and other organisations. To make recommendations on whether and how the guidelines should be revised, and the likely effectiveness of such changes in better meeting the objectives of the ESA.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1994

To: 1994

Cost: £7,346
Contractor / Funded Organisations
ADAS UK Ltd.
Keywords
              
Fields of Study
Environmental Stewardship