OSR increase to drive pollinator boost
Reports of some good yield results from oilseed rape growers this harvest, is widely predicted to result in a substantial increase in the area established for the coming season - enabling further gains from the benefit of the break crop.
Research into innovative techniques at the Syngenta OSR Innovation Centre, in Norfolk, has given a valuable insight for an integrated approach to establishment in the face of fierce cabbage stem flea beetle pressure.
A larger OSR area is also great news for bees and pollinators, to take advantage of the crop’s prolific flowering next spring.
And to make an even greater impact all season, there is the chance to plant an annual wildflower mix on the margin around the field in the next few weeks, advocates Syngenta Sustainable Farming Manager, Belinda Bailey.
The Syngenta Operation Pollinator Annual Wildflower Mix is specifically designed to provide a prolonged season of flowering – creating an abundant food source for all pollinating insects, long after the OSR has finished flowering.
“That’s essential to fill the hungry gap, to ensure pollinator colonies can build up and multiply throughout the season,” advised Belinda.
“The Operation Pollinator habitats also create a valuable haven for insects and birds to breed.”
Encouraging insects around the crop aids pollination and proven to bring a better balance of natural crop pest predators, she added.
Richard Barnes of the seed suppliers, Kings Crops, highlights the mix includes cornflower, corn marigold, corn chamomile and red clover, for a great variety of colour and interest from mid-May onwards.
“It’s really easy to establish, easy to manage and delivers a great outcome,” he enthused.
Independent research studies of the Operation Pollinator Annual Wildflower Mix, growing alongside commercial farm fields, has recorded over 35 different pollinator species active on the variety of flowering plants.
That included nine different species of bumblebee, more than seven lasiglossum solitary bee species and over 10 different andrena mining bee species.
Syngenta has supported sales of over 1600 hectares Annual Wildflower Mix seed as part of the company’s Good Growth Plan - sufficient to create 16 million m2 of pollinator habitat on UK farms.