AB5: Nesting plots for lapwing and stone curlew

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the nesting plots for lapwing and stone curlew option.

How much will be paid

£524 per hectare (ha).

If used as Ecological Focus Area (EFA): £96 per ha.

Where to use this option

Available for Mid Tier and Higher Tier

Whole or part parcel

Rotational

Only on:

  • arable land
  • temporary grassland

Where this option cannot be used

  • on parcels that are at risk of soil erosion or runoff as identified in the Farm Environment Record (FER)
  • on historic or archaeological features identified in your HEFER or FER

How this option will benefit the environment

It provides nesting sites for lapwing on arable land. The plots can also benefit other declining farmland birds, brown hare and some important arable plants.

If successful there will be:

  • lapwing using plots for nesting and raising their young
  • other farmland birds, brown hare and arable plants on the plot areas

Requirements

  • create individual plots that are a minimum of 1ha and a maximum of 5ha in size, in fields which must be a minimum of 5ha (or 10ha if woodland forms at least a quarter of the field boundary)
  • plots may be in a fixed location in or rotated around eligible fields
  • create the cultivated plots by 20 March
  • plots must be at least 100m away from woods, in-field and hedgerow trees, buildings, overhead power-lines, main roads and public rights of way, and at least 200m away from wind turbines
  • where natural regeneration covers more than 70% of the plot by 30 April, restore suitable bare-ground nesting habitat making sure first that no nesting birds are present on the plots. retain cultivated areas until 31 July

Keeping records

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them on request:

  • field operations at the parcel level, including associated invoices

You should also be aware that at the start of each claim year, a percentage of agreement holders will be asked to take and submit the following photographic records:

  • photographs of the plots

The following options and supplements can be located on the same area as this option:

Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this option

The following section gives advice on carrying out this option successfully but does not form part of the requirements for this option.

Pick the right location

Research shows that plots should be located:

  • on level or slightly sloping ground
  • next to extensively managed grassland where lapwings can feed their chicks
  • on arable fields of at least 5ha, or 10ha if woodland forms at least a quarter of the field boundary
  • away from waterlogged areas or land with weeds such as black-grass, wild oats or sterile brome
  • at least 100m away from woods, in-field and hedgerow trees, buildings, overhead power-lines, main roads and public rights of way
  • at least 200m away from wind turbines

This option can be used in a sequence with basic overwinter stubble to provide a continuity of habitat for species such as skylark and corn bunting.

How to establish the plots

Plots can be established by cultivation or spraying to create the fallow.

On heavier soils, plots can be ploughed the previous autumn and allowed to weather down to provide suitable nesting conditions in early spring.

Managing the plots

Machinery carrying out day to day farm operations such as spraying and fertilising can travel over these plots provided that the machinery keeps to the tramlines and is switched off when doing so.

Plots and plot tramlines should be checked for signs of nests prior to such travel taking place.

Nesting plots for stone curlews

There are specific areas in England where stone curlews are the target farmland bird for nesting plots. These plots and their specific management requirements will be available under Higher Tier.

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