OpenFields

1472: Bracken

This paper is taken from the British Society of Animal Science’s Animal Briefs

Year of Publication2012

Bracken reduces grassland productivity by spreading and shading other vegetation, makes gathering of sheep flocks difficult and harbours parasitic ticks. It can also be toxic to livestock causing vitamin deficiencies and cancer. Farmers mainly use a herbicide but Asulam - the most commonly-used herbicide - has had its approval removed by the European Commission. There is the possibility of short-term emergency authorisations that could cover the summer period each year but there is uncertainty over the future of bracken limitation, creating a pressing problem for land managers who have signed up to long-term management plans under agri-environment schemes.

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