Save our hay meadows – the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust has a rescue plan

Changes in farming practice threaten the future of hay meadows. <br/><br/>The Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust has come up with a <br/><br/>rescue plan<br/><br/><br/><br/>Photograph from Yorkshire Dales National Park

Save our hay meadows

Changes in farming practice threaten the future of hay meadows. The Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust has come up with a rescue plan

Photograph from Yorkshire Dales National Park

Upland hay meadows are important because of their high botanic diversity with over 30 species per square metre. They provide habitat for a wide variety of fauna including nesting birds and are a major part of our rural heritage.Changes in farming practice, in particular ploughing, re-seeding, silage management and addition of inorganic fertilisers, have lead to a dramatic decline in the extent and diversity of traditional hay meadows. The Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust three-and-a-half-year project aims to restore and enhance 120 ha of upland meadow and 100 ha of lowland meadow throughout the Dales. Providing advice on meadow management and restoration is also a key objective, with training events planned for the following years. Work to restore the meadows involves harvesting seed from species-rich donor sites by taking a cut of green hay. The seed is transferred to a carefully selected local receptor site by strewing the hay while it is still green. Seeds then fall as the hay dries introducing a variety of traditional meadow species.Donor farmers are paid between �240-400/ha for the green hay harvested. This payment should cover costs of buying in any replacement hay as well as provide a good price for the valuable seed.

To find out more about the project visit www.ydmt.org.

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