Suffolk grower wins Green Headlands Award
The nationally scarce Squat Furrow Bee was one of the exciting finds on the Suffolk farm of the Geoffrey Mayhew Farms ltd, based at Pond Farm, near Erwarton, Ipswich - winners of the Syngenta Operation Pollinator Green Headlands Biodiversity Award 2018.
With between 41 and 55 different species in each of the farm’s Green Headlands assessed, the biodiversity was consistently high. That included a Five Banded Digger Wasp (below), which is nationally rare and a key target for action to enhance biodiversity, but has a strong foothold in Suffolk.
Importantly the wasp can give positive control of crop pests, by hunting and collecting damaging weevils, which it buries and uses as a food source for its young. It was one of a large number of predatory insects identified in the Green Headland margins, which can beneficially help to reduce pest pressure on crops.
Geoff was presented with the farm'sGreen Headlands Award by Chris Brown of ASDA (left) and Syngenta Sustainable Farming Manager, Belinda Bailey.
Geoff Mayhew highlighted that growing the brassica and phacelia rich Green Headland Mix brings a range of benefits to the farm, including plant biomass and rooting to protect and enhance soil structure on the headlands, as well as capturing nutrients and retaining them in the field, where they can be utilised by the following crop.
“Environmentally it delivers a real positive boost for the farm and, since we are growing the mix on previously uncropped headland, there is no loss in productivity from then field,” he enthused.
“It’s also a great attraction for visitors to the farm. We could now look to integrate each year’s Green Headlands with other environmental features on the farm, as well as the initiatives of other farmers in the area, to coordinate a truly exceptional and huge ecological resource for the Suffolk area, within a highly productive farming landscape.”