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Farmland Birds and Pesticides. Based on RSPB research funded by Defra through CRD. Advice. Background. Changes in agricultural practice Declines in farmland birds Indirect effects of pesticide use limit food availability for birds reduce availability of non-target and beneficial species .

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Farmland birds and pesticides l.jpg

Farmland Birdsand Pesticides

Based on RSPB research funded

by Defra through CRD

Advice


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Background

  • Changes in agricultural practice

  • Declines in farmland birds

  • Indirect effects of pesticide use

    • limit food availability for birds

    • reduce availability of non-target and beneficial species




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Pesticide Use

£m

Has

Pesticide Trends 1974 – 2008

Source CPA and FERA


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How can you help?

Understand the issues and solutions

‘Farmland Birds and Pesticides Best Practice Leaflet’

Follow the Four Steps for Farmland Birds

Support CFE


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Four Steps for Farmland Birds

1. Integrated Farm Management

IFM principles

Farm landscape

Diversity of habitats


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Four Steps for Farmland Birds

2. Responsible pesticide use (i)

Risk management

Forecasts and treatment thresholds

Varietal choice

Selective herbicides


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Four Steps for Farmland Birds

2. Responsible pesticide use (ii)

Summer insecticides

Flowering crops and weeds

Minimise spray drift


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Four Steps for Farmland Birds

3. Field Margin HabitatsNon-cropped areas can provide alternative food-rich habitats on the farm.

All measures eligible for ELS & CFE

Habitat

Rough grass margins and field corners

Wild bird cover crops or seed mixtures

Pollen and nectar mixtures

Wildflower-rich margins

Uncropped, cultivated margin

Benefit

Grey partridge and predatory insects

Grey partridge, linnet, tree sparrow and yellowhammer

Yellowhammer, bumble bees and butterflies

Bumble bees, butterflies and linnets

Annual wild flowers, turtle doves and beetles


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Four Steps for Farmland Birds

4. In-Field Options In field options are essential for some species; they may be more costly but are rewarded through agri-environment schemes

Blue = eligible for ELS & CFE. Black ineligible, Green only eligible if in ELS agreement

Habitats

Over-winter stubbles

Skylark plots

Fallow plots

Undersown spring cereals

Beetle banks

Conservation headlands

Low-input cereals

Benefits

Skylark, corn bunting, grey partridge

Skylark, yellow wagtail

Lapwing and annual wild flowers

Grey partridge

Grey partridge and corn bunting, beetles

Grey partridge and annual wild flowers

Grey partridge and corn bunting


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Grey Partridge

Farmland Bird Index 1974-2008

Grey Partridge


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Corn Bunting

Farmland Bird Index 1974-2008

Corn Bunting


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Yellowhammer

Farmland Bird Index 1974-2008

Yellowhammer


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Skylark

Farmland Bird Index 1974-2008

Skylark


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All four birds

Farmland Bird Index 1990-2008


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Information resources

www.pesticides.gov.uk - Information on pesticide approvals, the legislation and the code of practice

www.rspb.org.uk/farming - Advice sheets on management for bird species and farm habitats

www.voluntaryinitiative.org.uk - Advice on the responsible use of pesticides

www.saffie.info - Skylark Plots Best Practice Guide

www.naturalengland.org - Environmental Stewardship scheme in England

www.wales.gov.uk - Glastir and agri-environment schemes in Wales

www.scotland.gov.uk/topics/agriculture - Rural Development Contracts in Scotland

www.dardni.gov.uk - Countryside Management Scheme in Northern Ireland


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More tips to help birds

  • Direct combining oilseed rape

  • Encourage beneficial and non-target insects

    • Avoiding spring insecticides can allow to increase to such a level that no future spring insecticide use may be needed;

    • Provide habitats and environments e.g. beetle banks that encourage predators and parasites

  • Cut hedges and ditches every 2-3 years

  • Sprayer and spreader technology;

  • Enhance food supplies for birds.


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