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Open Grazed or Wet Grassland for Wildlife

Option closed to new applications


The aim of this Option is to support the management of grazing land to protect ground nesting birds, their eggs and fledglings and other wildlife.

What this will achieve

The targeted management of grasslands will benefit a number of Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) species including Corn Bunting, Skylark, Grey Partridge, and Brown Hare. Other key species that will benefit include Lapwing and Curlew.

What you can do



  • agree a grazing plan with Scottish Ministers that describes your farm livestock management and grazing regime taking into account the preferences of individual target species, the conditions of your site and your farming operations on site


  • exclude your farm livestock for 6 consecutive weeks between 15 March and 15 June inclusive, or restrict your farm livestock to a maximum of 1 LU/ha during the whole 3-month period

For both:

  • manage the grazing of your fields and keep the intensity of grazing sufficiently low during the 3-month period so that the nests of ground-nesting birds are not damaged
  • you must not harrow or roll from 1 April until 31 July inclusive
  • artificial fertiliser must not be applied to the field before 15 May. Farmyard manure and slurry must not be applied from 1 March until 15 May inclusive
  • pesticides must not be applied to the managed area 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). Where land is located in wet areas and adjacent to water sources SEPA must also be consulted prior to treatment
  • you must not top until after 31 July
  • if Corncrakes or Corn Buntings are likely to be present in your fields, you should apply instead for the management Options for these.
  • the same field need not be chosen each year where you rotate winter keep production around your grassland area, but you must give details at the application stage of the fields to be rotated, their locations and areas. If, during the lifetime of the plan, a variation to the approved rotation is agreed, the area upon which the annual management payment is calculated will be restricted to either that originally approved or the revised figure, whichever is lower
  • where the option is to benefit farmland waders, such as lapwing and curlew, the area managed under this option must extend to at least 3 hectares, and be at least 30 metres from any line or group of trees or hedgerows.

Who can apply

All land managers are eligible to apply for this Option.

Eligibility criteria

This Option is available on areas of open in-bye grassland, subject to autumn and/or winter grazing to produce a short sward, and with little or no tree cover around the site because such cover can deter species vulnerable to predation from birds of prey, and areas of in-bye wet grassland. Wet grassland is pasture or meadow that is periodically inundated with water.

This Option should be carried out on the same land for the whole of your contract.

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 £111 per hectare each 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:

  • Compliance with your prepared grazing plan


  • Field has not been grazed for 6 consecutive weeks between 15 March and 15 June or grazing restricted to a maximum of 1 LU/ha during the whole 3 month period.
  • Field has not been rolled or harrowed from 1 April until 31 July
  • Field has not been not topped until after 31 July

For both:

  • Visual check to ensure no artificial fertiliser until after 15 May and no FYM/Slurry from 1 March until 15 May has been applied to the site
  • Pesticide records to ensure pesticides have not been applied to the site
  • Field is either open in-bye grassland or in-bye wet grassland. In-bye wet grassland must be pasture or meadow that is periodically inundated with water
  • There is little or no tree cover around the site
  • Claimed capital items have been completed to approved amounts and scheme standards
  • Where the option is to benefit farmland waders, such as lapwing and curlew, check that the area managed under this option extends to at least 3 hectares, and be at least 30 metres from any line or group of trees or hedgerows

List of links to relevant technical guidance

Minimum requirements for Fertiliser and Plant Protection Products - detailed guidance

Minimum requirements for protection of historic or archaeological features

'On the spot' inspections - overview of the inspection procedure

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