Mowing

The National Park uses and hence forms the region in two ways; pasturing and mowing. The population has made hay for centuries in order to have feed for the cattle in winter. The National Park’s habitat management aims at preserving this tradition while keeping nature conservancy aspects in mind. 

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The preservation of the typical steppe-like open land is the result of carefully directed mowing. Apart from that, the hay is used to feed the cattle in winter. Only parts of the meadows are mown by the National Park. Farmers, who own cattle themselves, can mow and harvest meadows at a fixed rate. The National Park is responsible for distribution of areas, coordinating dates and supervising all mowing activities. .

The moment of mowing is important to many meadow breeders and other animals and plants. If the meadow is mown too early, serious damage can be done. That is why the dates for mowing are based on the findings of different studies. The main period for mowing is in June, depending on precipitation and weather. In areas that are inhabited by animals that need more time for breeding, like the Great Bustard, the mowing doesn’t start until July or August.

The National Park does not only mow meadows, it is also active in organic farming. It owns about 10 hectares north of Lange Lacke, where rye, oat, wheat and triticale are cultivated. Farmers from Apetlon are employed to cultivate these fields. These fields provide not only extra forage for the National Park’s cattle, but also browsing areas for Greylag Geese.