NPWS Farm Plan Scheme for Corncrake

The NPWS Corncrake Farm Plan Scheme  (CFPS) is available in the following Special Protection Areas (SPAs) in Donegal and Mayo:


The primary aim of the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme for Corncrake is to engage in a five year plan of Early and Late Cover (ELC) creation, its maintenance and delayed mowing of adjacent meadows. Plan participants delay mowing only until 15 July on plots they nominate. If Corncrakes do not appear in the vicinity, the fields can be mown after this date. However if a Corncrake is recorded in or within 250m of these lands then the plan participant delays mowing until 20 August or 01 September. Mow is conducted in a Corncrake Friendly Manner (CFM) i.e. slow and centre out.

The  five year plan allows the farmer to plan to farm in a manner that the occurrence of Corncrake on his land will not seriously disrupt his/her year to year practices.

Suitable cover but in particular early cover is an essential requirement, currently limiting corncrake populations on mainland sites in Donegal and Mayo. Effective Early and Late Cover (ELC) creation may take 2-3 years to establish and payment rates and structures reflect this. Meadows dominated by soft grasses tend to lodge overwinter and become impenetrable, which is why early cover prescriptions focus on rigid or stiff-stemmed but sparsely-growing species like cow parsley, iris and nettles. A farm planner is provided free of charge to participants, to draw up the plan and advise on an ongoing basis, what is required to deliver suitable habitat.

If opting to apply to join NPWS Farm Plan for Corncrake, the farmer will nominate fields/areas within the designated SPA where he must take up measure 1 and/or 2 in combination with measure 3 and and/or 4. The farmer must also allow for access by NPWS or their agents to carry out predator control if required.

  • Measure 1 to create and maintain a suitable area of Early and Late Cover Plots
  • Measure 2 to maintain and enhance existing areas as ELC
  • Measure 3 to establish a Corncrake friendly mown grassland management regime
  • Measure 4 to establish a Corncrake friendly grazed grassland management regime

Contact details are as follows:

Agri-Ecology Unit  
National Parks and Wildlife Service
90 North King Street
Dublin 7
D07 N7CV

Tel. 01 888 3255