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
This option works best in large, open winter cereal fields, preferably where skylarks are present or have been in the past. Avoid fields that are bordered by trees or next to woods as this increases the risks of predator attack.
Minimise attacks on nests from predators by placing plots:
away from tramlines (choosing a middle spot between two sets of tramlines works best)
at least 50m from field boundaries and margins
How to establish skylark plots
Create plots either:
by turning off the drill during sowing to leave an unsown plot, or
by sowing the crop as normal and spraying with herbicide to create the plot by 31 December
Managing the plots
After drilling, the plots can be managed with the same treatments as the remainder of the field.
There is no need to keep the plots weed-free but spot-treating with herbicide in April will help skylarks to access their nesting sites.
Mechanical weeding of crops containing skylark plots will destroy any nests present and is not recommended.