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      SW Grass Buffer Strips

      A mixture of grasses providing a natural habitat for insects, including pollinators, and capable of reducing the risks from surface runoff water.

      Ideal for areas at high risk of runoff, such as strips beside a watercourse or on natural drainage pathways, by establishing and managing grass strips to protect soil and water.

      SW grass buffer strips are ideal for areas at high risk of runoff by establishing and managing grass strips to protect soil and water.

      Mix in detail

      A mixture of grasses providing a natural habitat for insects, including pollinators, and capable of reducing the risks from surface runoff water.

      Example SW Grass Buffer strips mix

      • AberNiche Festulolium
      • Timothy
      • Smooth-stalked Meadow Grass
      • Meadow
      • Fescue
      • Creeping Bent
      • Cocksfoot

      SW1

      4m to 6m buffer strip on cultivated land:
      to provide a new habitat next to existing features and/or prevent pollutant/sediment runoff when situated near a watercourse

      SW3

      In-field grass strips:
      ideally positioned on natural drainage pathways or parallel to the slope on long, sloping fields to reduce the quantity of sediment, nutrients and pesticides moving within and between fields

      SW4

      12m to 24m watercourse buffer strip on cultivated land: to help reduce the risk of potential pollutants, such as sediment, pesticides and nutrients (mainly phosphate), being transported to watercourses in surface water runoff. It may also provide habitat for wildlife, and form links between other habitats.

      They are eligible for payments under the Countryside Stewardship Mid and Higher Tier agreements: SW1 – £353/ha; SW3 – £557/ha; SW4 – £512/t

      Find out more:
      DEFRA Countryside Stewardship grants

      Ask an expert

      Please click here to ask a Germinal expert any questions about grass and wildflowers.

      How to sow SW Grass buffer strips mix successfully

      • Remove any subsoil compaction where seedbed preparation is required
      • Sow at a seed rate of 20kg/ha
      • Control weeds and cut regularly in the first 12-24 months of establishment

      Further information

      SW1 Requirements

      • Establish or maintain a 4 to 6m wide grass buffer strip during the first 12 months
      • Once established, cut between 1 and 3m of the strip next to the crop edge every year after 15th July
      • Do not remove fallen timber; stack where obstructing management of buffer strip
      • Keep photographs of the strip

      SW3 Requirements

      • Establish or maintain a dense grassy area during the first 12 months
      • Once established, cut the entire area every year after 15th July
      • Exclude all livestock from the strip

      SW4 Requirements

      • Establish or maintain a 12 to 24m wide grass buffer strip during the first 12 months
      • Once established, cut 6m next to the crop edge every year after 15th July
      • Do not remove fallen timber; stack where obstructing management of buffer strip
      • Keep photographs of the strip
      • Exclude all livestock from the strip

      Common requirements to SW1, SW3 and SW4

      • Do not apply fertilisers or manures
      • Do not use pesticides, except for herbicides to weed wipe or spot treat injurious weeds, invasive non-native species, nettles or bracken
      • Do not use for animal or vehicle access (SW3, SW4)
      • Exclude all livestock from the strip (SW3, SW4)
      • Keep records of all field operations including associated invoices
      • Keep photographs of the strip (SW1, SW4)