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Plant and Invertebrate Resources for Farmland Birds in Pastoral Landscapes

Westbury, D.B. and Mortimer, S.R. and Brook, A.J. and Harris, S.J. and Kessock-Philip, R and Edwards, A.R. and Chaney, P and Lewis, P and Dodd, S and Buckingham, D.L. and Peach, W.J. (2011) Plant and Invertebrate Resources for Farmland Birds in Pastoral Landscapes. Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Environment, 142 (3-4). pp. 266-274. ISSN 0167-8809

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Abstract

On 16 UK livestock holdings within pastoral landscapes, we investigated the provision of plant and invertebrate resources for farmland birds in spring barley and winter wheat cereal-based whole crop silages as alternatives to maize and grass silages. The benefits of low input barley systems were also investigated; barley fields were subjected to two separate herbicide sub-treatments on a split-field design (high input broad-spectrum or low input narrow spectrum herbicides). The abundance of plant resources and invertebrates was assessed for three growing seasons during summer and winter for each crop type. The study clearly demonstrated the value of spring barley for the provision of plant resources when compared to the other silage cropping systems, whilst invertebrate responses were variable. No differences in plant and invertebrate resources were found between the barley treatments. Throughout the year, forage maize afforded the lowest provision of resources for farmland birds, and because it is likely that maize will continue to be grown in pastoral areas, the value of this habitat needs to be improved if farmland birds are to benefit. To provide plant and invertebrate resources for farmland birds in pastoral landscapes we strongly advocate the growing of spring sown barley whole-crop silage followed by over-wintering stubbles.

Item Type: Article
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Uncontrolled Keywords: whole crop silage, livestock systems, agri-environment, maize, forage
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Divisions: Academic Departments > Institute of Science and the Environment
Depositing User: Janet Davidson
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2011 12:11
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2011 12:11
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/1526

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