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Wild Bird Seed Mix/Unharvested Crop

Option closed to new applications


This Option provides support for the practice of leaving areas of unharvested, or cut and left in stooks, over the winter after spring sowing a mixture of seed bearing crops.

What this will achieve

Unharvested crops provide cover and feeding areas for birds. Biodiversity Action Plan ( BAP) species that may benefit include Grey Partridge, Skylark, Capercaillie, Black Grouse, Tree Sparrow and Corn Bunting.

What you can do


  1. spring sow a mixture of annual crops, including at least one cereal, which will provide seed for the targeted species and do not plough down until after 15 March the following year; or
  2. spring sow a mixture of at least two crops, one of which must seed in the first year and one in the second, e.g. kale. Plough in after 15 March following last seeding year.

For both Options:

  • pesticides may be applied where necessary to aid establishment of the crop; otherwise, no application of pesticides to the managed area is permitted, 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)
  • plots must be no more than 2 hectares in size
  • the same field need not be chosen each year, 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
  • In Corn Bunting areas (East Scotland, Uists and Borders) either 1-year cereal-based mixes should be established or, where two-year mixes are sown, at least two plots must be established in alternate years. To provide a safe retreat, plots should be located next to a hedge, isolated bush/tree or overhead wires but not dense woodland.

If you propose to create several plots of wild bird seed mix/unharvested crop, we recommend that they are scattered across the farm or croft. Large areas of wild bird seed mix/unharvested crop, concentrated in a single location will not generally benefit the target species as much as several small plots that are scattered across the unit. Plot size is therefore restricted to 2 hectares and we recommend that you avoid locating one plot immediately adjacent to another plot of wild bird seed mix/unharvested crop.

Who can apply

All land managers are eligible to apply for this Option.

Eligibility criteria

Plots must be located on arable or improved grassland.

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

This Option cannot be adopted on an area of land set-aside under the Single Farm Payment Scheme (SFPS).

Please see the Defininitions 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 £391.26 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:

  • Land is either arable or improved grassland
  • Plot size does not exceed 2 hectares
  • Correct spring-sown mixture has been sown for chosen management and has not been ploughed down before 15 March
  • Pesticide records will be checked for instances of spraying other than to aid crop establishment
  • In Corn Bunting areas - this Option is next to a hedge, isolated bush/tree or overhead wires and not next to dense woodland

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