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Grazed Grassland For Corncrakes

Option closed to new applications


This Option will support the management of grazed grasslands to encourage suitable conditions for the benefit of Corncrakes.

What this will achieve

By limiting and managing grazing, this Option promotes the growth, structure and species composition of vegetation on the land. It will provide sufficient tall vegetation which will be suitable as early cover for Corncrakes arriving in spring and provide cover throught the summer to allow Corncrakes to nest and raise broods successfully.

What you can do


  • farm livestock must be removed from areas entered under this Option before 1 March
  • farm livestock may be returned after 15 July, although livestock density must be no more than 1.4 LU/ha before the end of August.
  • in-bye land must be grazed in the autumn to keep it in good condition
  • the total area entered under this Option must be at least 0.5 hectares

Who can apply?

All managers of land within the Argyll Islands, Skye, Small Isles, Western Isles, Orkney and parts of the North Sutherland and the West Argyll coast that support Corncrake populations.

Eligibility criteria

Farmed land in the target area is eligible for this Option.

Fields or compartments must contain a high proportion (30%) of vegetation that is both likely to be taller than 20 cm by early May and likely to be suitable for Corncrakes if ungrazed. Fields with a high proportion of tall plants such as iris, nettles, meadowsweet, cow parsley, hogweed, reed sweetgrass, common reed and butterbur would be appropriate. Areas with a high proportion of rush could be selected where it occurs as patches and where the density is not above 50%. Areas of ungrazed grass or rush matted with dead vegetation remaining from previous seasons will not qualify as suitable tall vegetation.

Land receiving payments for similar management under other agri-environment schemes is not eligible under this Option.

Please see Definitions of Land Types page for more details.

What costs could be supported

For a comprehensive list of Capital Items click here. Any cost claimed must be fully justified. The following are examples of what may be claimed:

When completing your Proposal, you can select the appropriate capital item(s) from the dropdown list of standard cost capital items for this Option.

In addition to the above capital items, financial support of up to 100% of eligible actual costs is available in respect of the following:

Please note that these capital items will not appear in the dropdown list of Standard Cost capital items for this Option and will need to be entered manually in the box for Actual Cost capital items. Only costs for the types of capital works listed above should be entered in the Actual Cost capital items box for this Option. Any other costs entered cannot be considered for funding.

To ensure value for money we require you to provide 2 competitive quotes for any capital items applied for which are based on actual cost. If, however, you are seeking grant support towards something so specialised it is only available through 1 source then we would accept 1 quote. Please see the guidance on quotes and estimates for more information.

Rate of support

This is a 5-year commitment. We will pay you £313 per hectare per year. We will pay at the end of each year.

Inspections / verification

The inspector will check the requirements (as detailed above under 'what you can do') of the Option are being met, by a visual assessment on the day of inspection.

Beneficiaries must comply with the requirements of cross compliance and the minimum requirements for fertiliser and plant protection products. You must also comply with the requirements to avoid damaging any features of historic or archaeological interest, and follow Scottish Ministers' guidance for the protection of such areas or features (detailed in links below).

The following is a brief overview of the inspection procedures, for a full explanation please see links below:

Inspectors will check:

  • Area managed is at least 0.5 ha
  • Livestock have been removed before 1 March
  • Stocking density after 15 July to end August, is no more than 1.4 LU/ha
  • The sward is not rank or dense
  • Claimed capital items have been completed to approved amounts and scheme standards

List of links to relevant technical guidance