Positive contribution of outdoor grazing to meadow birds is being researched

Gepubliceerd op
25 augustus 2020

The field season of the second year of the "Vogels en Voorspoed Fryslân" project (Birds and prosperity Friesland) is over. Together with 18 dairy farmers from four agricultural collectives in Friesland (Noardlike Fryske Wâlden, It Leeg Midden, Waadrâne and Súdwestkust), the Louis Bolk Institute is conducting research into the added value of grazing measures for farm management and meadow birds.

Grazing for meadow birds and farms

Grazing can make an important positive contribution for meadow birds: grazing creates different growth stages and grass heights between different plots (mosaic management). In addition, lapwing and godwit families like to use grazed plots: the low vegetation on grazed grassland allows chicks to move easily through the pasture, while the dung forests offer good coverage against predation. It is not unimportant that cow pies are a breeding ground for worms, flies and beetles, an important food for the meadow birds and their chicks. In order to optimally use these positive properties of grazing in meadow bird management, it is important to coordinate grazing (and fertilization) as closely as possible with the (expected) presence of birds and other management, such as mowing and plots with a postponed mowing date. At the same time, grazing and good use of pasture grass almost always offer economic benefits, because costs for concentrates, forage production and fertilization are lower.

Testing grazing measures

The aim of the "Vogels en Voorspoed" project is to develop and test grazing measures that have added value for the company and for meadow birds. The project is aimed at farmers who do agricultural nature management as well as farmers who do not. In 2020, we will once again map the interaction between meadow birds and grazing and grassland management at these practice farms. In addition, we monitor the effect of grazing (in relation to mowing and management land) on the grassland structure (cover and fordability for chicks) and the food supply (insects) for meadow birds and their chicks. In addition, potential control measures are tested in practical trials and the effect on conditions for meadow birds and their compatibility in business operations is investigated.
In the coming months we will start processing and analyzing the collected results.
The ultimate goal is to use these findings to create manuals and fact sheets. In addition, it also forms the basis for proposals for package adjustments.

Birds and prosperity

"The Vogels en Voorspoed Fryslân" project runs from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2020 and is funded from the Rural Development Program 2014-2020 for the Netherlands (POP3). This program is partly funded from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).