Pilot Corncrake Farm Plan Scheme

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


The primary aim of the CFPS is to engage in a five year plan of Early and Late Cover (ELC) creation, its maintenance and delayed mowing of adjacent meadows. Key to this 5-year CFPS is that the farmer would delay mowing only until the 15th of July on nominated plots. However if a calling male is recorded in or within 250m of these lands then the farmer is obliged to delay mowing until the 20th of August or the 1st of September and to mow in a Corncrake Friendly Manner (CFM) i.e. slow and centre out.

Unlike the long established Corncrake Grant Scheme (CGS) delayed mowing of nominated fields with Corncrakes is mandatory if participating in CFPS. The 5-year CFPS also 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. The scheme is flexible in that if a corncrake is not present, delayed mowing beyond 15th July is not required.

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, so requires a 5-year period for effective delivery. ELC is needed from first arrival in late April. 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.

If opting to apply to join CFPS, 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/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
Email Agri.Ecology@chg.gov.ie