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Mowing grain with a scythe
Hang device carrier ( specialty tractor for the management steeper slopes) with mower in the front and spinning top in the rear mounting

Mowing is the cutting of grass or grain .

Origin of the word Mahd, Mähder

The term die ( f. ), Regionally also das ( n. ) Mahd , the noun to 'mähen', originated around the year 1300 and describes a mowing process - the cut - or the entire harvesting process from cutting to harvesting ( mhd.  mâd  for 'work of mowing') also its result, the harvest .

Grassland intended for mowing is called meadow ; Grassland areas that are intended for grazing cattle, on the other hand, are called pastures . If the cattle are allowed to graze on a mown meadow, the area is referred to as a mowing pasture .

Mowed , even cut , is generally grass , but also corn and other crops in arable farming . The freshly mown grass, generally also called fodder , is called for example Tyrolean swath , only when it is dried and ripe for bringing in, hay (whereby in specialist circles only the first cut is called hay , the second general German Grummet , in southern Germany Öhmd - see there too Details). In the case of grain, it is called straw .


Originally the reaper or mower used a sickle or a sight for mowing . It was not until the Middle Ages that the much more effective scythe appeared. The blade had to be regularly re-sharpened ("sharpened"), for which the reaper always carried a whetstone in a kump .

A number of technical inventions has mechanical and motorized spawned mowers, such as the mower (mower), the lawn mower and the reaper and combine harvester for corn.

Many grassland or extensive meadows are mowed only once a year, for example, after Aussamen the grasses . Golf greens are changed up to 100 times a year, i.e. H. cut daily in summer.

Ecological effects

Every mowing process removes nutrients from the meadow ecosystem. Depending on the time and frequency of cutting, plants can still reproduce mainly generatively through seeds or if they are cut more than twice . Regular pruning promotes pruning-insensitive and soil-creeping plants or rosette plants. Low-growing species are encouraged by containing strong and tall-growing species. In contrast to grazing (footfall damage), this form of management creates a uniform structure. If there is no mowing, plants that are strong in competition and pruning are encouraged and become dominant. The biodiversity decreases, and the succession sets in, mostly via Hochstaudenfluren or species-poor swards with emerging shrubs to forest-like stands.

Without regular mowing, meadow corridors in Central Europe cannot exist and will be displaced by the forest as long as it is viable. Apart from a few special locations (such as rocky areas), the precipitation and soil conditions in Central Europe are sufficient for at least "frugal" tree species such as the Scots pine to grow.

Effects on the animal world

Mechanical mowing and the subsequent steps of meadow harvesting are significant stress factors for the fauna of a meadow. This is done in two different ways: On the one hand, mechanical action is directly fatal for many species. This is especially true for species that are not or not very mobile, which includes a large number of insect species (e.g. most species of cicadas and the majority of grasshoppers ). Working equipment can also lead to non-lethal injuries, especially for amphibians. On the other hand, the abrupt shortening of meadow growth causes considerable changes in the microclimate, the food supply and the supply of hiding places. Many species react negatively to all of this.

The mechanical action alone causes a loss of up to 80% of the insects, depending on the technology used and the harvesting techniques used. As a simple, central tool for gentle mowing, it is therefore recommended to leave out a small area as a “regeneration strip” every time you mow. Such old grass strips or refuges or a temporary fallow land can then continue to serve the animals as an alternative source of food, a place to hide and possibly also as a wintering place. These partial areas are mowed with the next mowing and another strip or patch is left standing (relay mowing). Even if the relay mowing is an essential upgrade option for meadows, many grassland species cannot survive on meadows. For these species, extensive grazing of grassland is often the method of choice.

Fawns are particularly at risk when they are first cut, as they can hardly be seen in the tall grass and instinctively try to push themselves deeper into the hiding place when there is danger. The machine operator is often no longer able to stop in time when he recognizes young animals. In the grain and rapeseed harvest, there is a comparable risk potential, but the young animals are then a bit older and can escape better. Therefore, preventive measures to rescue deer are necessary for deer .

Mowing gardens

Cut the lawn

Lawn area after mowing twice (left) and uncut (right)

Mowing the lawn (the green clippings ) is a cutting measure in horticulture and serves to encourage grass to grow thickly. A part of mowing the lawn can also be a recording of the crop. If the clippings are too thick, the lawn underneath will be damaged and bald spots will appear. When mowing frequently with short cuts, it is not necessary to collect the cuttings ( mulching ).

Relay mowing

In the case of relay mowing, several mowing dates are set for an area in order to ensure retreat areas or a continuous food supply for different animal species. This parceled mowing creates mosaics of mown and uncut areas, which allow species to jump in terms of retreat areas.

For the stork , for example, during the breeding season it is important to be able to bring food for the brood at any time , which it can gain from the mowed area. Bees can also benefit from relay mowing so that they do not have to open up new uncut meadows in one fell swoop.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Mahd  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: mow  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Mähder  - explanations of meanings, origins of words, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. MAHD, n. And fem. Mowing and mowing . In: Jacob Grimm , Wilhelm Grimm : German Dictionary . Hirzel, Leipzig 1854–1961 ( , University of Trier).
  2. Brockhaus in 15 vol., Leipzig / Mannheim, 1999, article Weide und Wiese
  3. Dietl / Lehmann, Ökologischer Wiesenbau, avbuch, Leopoldsdorf, 2006, ISBN 3-7040-1919-4 , page 11 ff.
  4. Dietl / Lehmann, Ökologischer Wiesenbau, as mentioned above
  5. Heinz Ellenberg : Vegetation of Central Europe with the Alps in an ecological, dynamic and historical perspective. 5th, heavily changed and improved edition. Ulmer, Stuttgart 1996, ISBN 3-8001-2696-6 , pp. 26, 115, 116, 152, 153.
  6. Nicolas Schoof, Rainer Luick, Guy Beaufoy, Gwyn Jones, Peter Einarsson, Jabier Ruiz, Vyara Stefanova, Daniel Fuchs, Tobias Windmaißer, Herman Hötker, Heike Jeromin, Jochen Schumacher, Mariya Ukhanova: Grassland protection in Germany: drivers of biodiversity, influence of Agri-environmental and climate measures, regulatory law, dairy industry and effects of climate and energy policy . In: Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Ed.): BfN script . No. 539 . BfN, Bonn - Bad Godesberg 2019, p. 257 ( ).