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Mown Grassland For Wildlife

Option closed to new applications


The aim of this Option is to support the extensive management of hay and silage fields.

What this will achieve

This Option will provide protection for ground nesting birds, their eggs and fledglings, leverets and other wildlife from operations associated with grassland management. Biodiversity Action Plan ( BAP) species that may benefit include Black Grouse, Skylark, Curlew, Grey Partridge and Brown Hare. Other important bird species that may benefit include Lapwing and Redshank.

What you can do


  • the field must not be rolled, harrowed or grazed from 1 April until 30 June inclusive or until the crop has been secured, whichever is the later. The specific timing to be agreed on a field-by-field basis. If you are managing land within Shetland this 3 month exclusion may begin at any time between 1 and 30 April.
  • the field must be mown but neither mowing nor the reintroduction of grazing may take place before 1 July or the end of the exclusion period, whichever is later
  • to minimise the risk of injury to younger birds, hay and silage must be cut in a wildlife-friendly manner

mowing grassland

  • No artificial fertiliser, slurry or farmyard manure can be applied to the field between 1 March and 15 May inclusive to reduce disturbance to nesting birds. 'Artificial fertiliser' includes lime and slag.
  • Where later ground nesting birds and their young are found, you must not apply artificial fertiliser, slurry or farmyard manure between 1 March and 1 June. 'Artificial fertiliser' includes lime and slag. In the Northern Isles, you may extend the closed period for the application of FYM or slurry to 15 June.
  • A strip of grass 2 m wide around the field boundary must be left uncut after mowing. Pesticides must not be applied to this strip except with the prior written agreement of Scottish Ministers for activities such as spot treatment of scheduled weeds (i.e. creeping, spear or field thistle, curled or broadleaved dock and common ragwort) or non-native invasive species (i.e. Giant hogweed, Himalayan balsam, Rhododendron ponticum or Japanese knotweed).
  • the same field need not be chosen each year where you rotate winter keep production around the grassland area. However, if this is the case, you will need to provide details to the Scottish Government of the different fields and their locations and areas in your application. If, during the lifetime of your plan, you agree a different rotation to that originally approved, the area upon which the annual management payment is calculated will be restricted to either the originally approved area or the revised area, whichever is smaller.

Who can apply

All land managers are eligible to apply for this Option.

Eligibility criteria

  • You can carry out the Option on a grass field on which an extensive crop of hay or silage will be grown. There should be little or no tree cover around fields because this would deter species vulnerable to predation from birds of prey.
  • You cannot apply for this Option for fields in the first year in which spring-sown grass is being established as these will have limited grass cover in the early part of the year.
  • Grass fields receiving substantial applications of fertiliser or slurry will not be suited to this Option as the management required involves late cutting of the crop.

If Corncrakes or Corn Buntings are likely to be present in your fields you should apply instead for one of the following management Options:

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

Please see the 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 £174.88 per hectare per year. We will pay at the end of each year.


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:
  • Field has not been rolled, harrowed or grazed from 1 April until 30 June
  • The field is mown in a wildlife-friendly manner after 1 July
  • Livestock has not been reintroduced before 1 July
  • Extensive crop of hay or silage is grown and a first year spring-sown grass is not being established in the field.
  • There is little or no tree cover around fields
  • Presence of 2 m uncut strip(s)
  • Claimed capital items have been completed to approved amounts and scheme standards


List of links to relevant technical guidance