Spring cropping & ground nesting birds

Spring sown crops like spring barley, sugar beet and peas still have sparse vegetation during March and April. This means they are used by ground nesting birds like Lapwing, Oystercatcher and Skylark more than autumn sown crops such as winter barley

  • as a spring crop grows it may make it hard for birds like Lapwing chicks to hunt for their own food. Therefore, Lapwings that nest at Abbey Farm in an early spring crop like barley often take their young to a different field once the crop gets taller. They often move to beet or millet fields, grazed grassland or pond edges
  • birds may nest before crops like millet are drilled. Lapwing and Oystercatcher nests are relatively easy to find so we avoid them during any cultivations. Skylark nests are very hard to find, so may get ploughed up. However, they have a rapid breeding cycle, so are better able to cope with loss of a nest
  • millet is a more extreme example of the benefits of spring drilling – read more


Arable land spring cropping
Beet stubble before ploughing for a spring crop. The longer this can be left the more likely that Lapwing will use it for nesting
Young pea plants

The sparse vegetation of a spring-sown pea field can attract nesting Lapwing