Green cover proves headland attraction
Green cover headlands sown on potato and root vegetable crop headlands is proving a positive attraction for pollinators, and helping to conserve valuable soil resources.
Successful results from a 2016 pilot project of the Syngenta Operation Pollinator initiative, instigated and supported exclusively by ASDA growers through the IPL supply chain, now aims to plant up over 100 hectares of the specially selected Green Headland cover mix on more than 30 farms for the coming season.
Belinda Bailey, Syngenta Environmental Initiatives Manager (below), highlighted that potato and root vegetable headlands are typically left uncropped, to aid management and harvesting of the cropped field area. However, these bare soil areas are left dangerously exposed to soil erosion or damage by headland-turning of heavy machinery, can become a weed burden and have little or no ecological value.
Adrian Baker, Farm Manager at F B Parrish & Son, based at Lodge Farm, Chicksands in Bedfordshire, reported one of the benefits of the cover crop used this year was how easy it was to establish. “Soil protection is vitally important on our light greensands, with measures such as a CTF (Controlled Traffic Farming) system on the fields.
IPL suppliers for ASDA who would be interested to get involved with the Green Headland initiative and trial should contact the company’s Senior Agronomist, Simon Taylor (above).