West Norfolk farmers encouraged to sow wildflowers to revive pollinators

Bees are important pollinators.
Bees are important pollinators.
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Farmers are being encouraged to help pollinators, such as the bumblebee, by sowing wildflowers on their land.

And their actions could prove to be financially beneficial as they are likely to see increased crop yields.

The Country Landowners and Business Association (CLA) East is encouraging farmers and landowners to get involved in a campaign designed to promote the resurgence of pollinators, and help boost crop productivity.

The Association is backing the industry-led Campaign for the Farmed Environment’s (CFE) Sowing the Seeds for Pollinator Revival project, which is offering growers packs containing a mix of annual flowers for autumn sowing.

CLA Eastern regional rural advisor, Maisie Jepson, said: “In the UK, insect pollination contributes approximately £400 million a year to the nation’s economy. Wild pollinators therefore have a vital role to play in the sustainable future of agriculture.

“Those getting involved in the scheme will be able to provide special areas producing valuable season-long pollen and nectar, helping bumblebees, solitary bees and other pollinating insects – along with crop and wild fruit yields, which will consequently help the birds and other fauna. “Strengthening food webs in this way will help to make animal communities more resilient to environmental change, while also helping our food crops.

“Providing habitat for wild pollinators also has the potential to be financially worthwhile for farmers. A recent study suggested planting field margins with wildflowers can outweigh the costs of setting-up and maintenance because it can lead to increased numbers of wild bees on adjacent crops, significantly increasing yield.

A one hectare pack of wildflower mix is available from the Sowing the Seeds for Pollinator Revival project for £35, with the offer limited to ten packs per farm on a first come, first served basis. The closing date for applications is October 1.

For further information or to apply for packs, contact the CFE East Anglia Regional Coordination Office on 01223 841507.