Subsidised seeds could help pollinator-friendly farming projects

With the right management, hedgerows are seen as key to helping pollinators and other beneficial ins

With the right management, hedgerows are seen as key to helping pollinators and other beneficial insects complete their life cycles on farms - Credit: CFE

Farmers across East Anglia are being offered subsidised packs of wildflower and wild bird seed mix at a series of events aimed at improving the agricultural environment for pollinators.

The Campaign for the Farmed Environment (CFE) is holding pollinator-themed events across the region this spring, with 250 cut-price seed packs, subsidised by Syngenta as part of the company's Operation Pollinator project, made available on a first-come first-served basis.

The free events will focus on how to manage hedgerows for pollinators and other beneficial insects, from varying cutting regimes, to protecting and enhancing the wider hedge habitat, including what to grow in the margins adjacent to hedges.

CFE regional coordinator Elizabeth Ranelagh said: 'The best way we can support pollinators on our farms is first to protect and enhance existing habitat for insects.

'Hedgerows are vital to pollinators, as well-managed hedges can provide both an early and late source of nectar when little else is flowering in our landscape, thus enabling pollinating insects to complete their lifecycles. The also act as 'safe flyways' across farmland for insects on the move, where they feel sheltered from the elements and better protected from predators.


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'Finally we should all be looking at how we might create additional, high-quality habitat for our pollinators, which is why wildflower seed that is subsidised by the industry is a very welcome development in supporting farmers who voluntarily want to do more on their farms.'

Attendees can obtain tokens which enable them to purchase up to 15 of the one-hectare packs of half-price seed, subject to availability. The seed is a spring-sown mix called Bees 'n Seed, which has a wild bird seed element aimed at complementing game cover, and also delivers late season pollen and nectar. Advice will be available on how, when and where best to establish the mix.

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The events include the following dates:

• Norfolk: April 16, The Barn, Raveningham Estate

• Suffolk: April 17, Halls Farm, Halls Lane, Norton

• Cambs: April 23, Park Farm, Thorney

Places are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and can be booked by contacting Rob Cooper or Jilly McNaughton from the regional CFE team on 01223 841507 or by emailing eastanglia@cfeonline.org.uk.

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