Herbicides and the management of field boundary vegetation.
Field margins can be important areas for wildlife conservation on arable farmland, but if badly managed can also be problem areas for crop production. They may incorporate a number of features, but these fall into two main areas, the crop edge (often referred to as 'headland') and the field boundary (which may include hedge, fence, wall, grass bank, ditch or various combinations of these). There may also be a buffer area between these two main components, referred to as the 'boundary strip' (Greaves & Marshall, 1987).
The management of cereal crop edges in a way which can maximise benefits to wildlife with minimal effects on cropping ('conservation headlands') was the subject of an earlier article in Pesticide Outlook (Sotherton, 1990), and the particular importance of these areas for endangered plants of arable land was described by Wilson (1991). However, the crop edge cannot be considered in isolation from the adjacent field boundary, and sympathetic management of the whole field margin is essential if wildlife benefits are to be maximised and agronomic problems kept to a minimum.