Comparison of herbicide treated and untreated headlands for the survival of game and wildlife.
The benefits of unsprayed headlands in cereal fields to game and wildlife were investigated in the U.K. in 1983 and 1984. Six metre strips around the edges of cereal fields were left unsprayed with all pesticides (herbicides, fungicides and insecticides) from I January until harvest. Comparisons were made of the weed flora and associated insect fauna of unsprayed headlands and of equivalent sprayed headlands.
Total weed densities and total weed cover scores were significantly higher in unsprayed headlands and, in both years, the insects preferred by gamebird chicks were found in significantly higher numbers in unsprayed headlands compared to sprayed headlands. These increases were reflected in the increases in grey partridge brood sizes in 1983 and 1984 and pheasant brood sizes in 1984. Increases in the numbers of butterflies between treated and untreated areas are reported, and other areas of research concerned with unsprayed headlands are discussed.