Chough Grazing Management

Date published: 30 March, 2015

Aim

The aim of this option is to benefit chough by providing suitable areas for the birds to forage throughout the year.

Choughs require areas of short grazed grassland, ideally grazed by cattle whose dung supports the insects upon which the birds feed.

Not treating these cattle with Avermectin-based wormers will benefit these insects. This option also allows for an early cut of silage or hay to be taken.

Eligibility

Grassland, including coastal heath, is eligible for this option.

You should not include areas of land covering rocks, scree, water, dense bracken etc. We will check this using the same approach we use to check land for the Basic Payment Scheme.

Assessing your land eligibility

Spatial targeting

You can check if this option is available on your holding here.

Application requirements

You must provide a map showing the locations of the areas to be managed, and prepare and submit for approval a simple chough management plan (which will include details of proposed grazing and details of other associated options or capital items to benefit chough).

Management requirements

This option can be moved around the farm within the normal rotation and on an annual basis.

To maximise flexibility you can manage a different total hectarage each year as long the area you manage each year is at least 90 per cent of the largest area you plan to manage under this option.

You must either:

  • graze the grassland to provide a short sward throughout the year

or:

  • take an early cut of silage or hay, not later than 30 June, and then graze to keep the sward short
  • if cutting, hay or silage must be cut in a wildlife-friendly manner

For both:

  • you must not treat any livestock with Avermectin-based drugs, unless advised by a veterinary surgeon and with prior written approval
  • do not spray, except for the spot-treatment of injurious weeds (requires prior written notification) or treatment of invasive species (requires prior written approval)
  • you must maintain a diary

Payment

You can claim £87.93 per hectare per year.

You will only be paid for the area that you manage and declare annually.

Inspections

The inspectors will check:

You have either:

  • grazed the grassland to provide a short sward throughout the year

or:

  • taken an early cut of silage or hay, not later than 30 June, and then grazed to keep the sward short
  • if cut, hay or silage must have been cut in a wildlife-friendly manner

For both:

  • you have not treated any livestock with Avermectin-based drugs, unless advised by a veterinary surgeon and with prior written approval
  • you have not sprayed, unless with prior written notification or approval as appropriate
  • you have maintained a diary

Additional guidance