This week is National Biodiversity Week and farmers can do many things to improve biodiversity on farm.
Farmers are no strangers to biodiversity and it’s a word that we now hear regularly, often in the context of the biodiversity crisis.
There is a lot of work being done on farms to improve biodiversity and more can always be done.
Bees are a very important part of the food chain and, at this time of year, it is important to provide food for pollinators.
Bee numbers are currently in decline, as there are fewer nesting sites, less plants and flowers growing wild and a big problem is that bees require food all year, but there is a lack on consistently in their food supply chain because of biodiversity loss.
As its World Bee Day, we decided to share a few tips on how to increase pollinator numbers on-farm.
Teagasc has recommendations for farmers to help to stop a further decline in bee populations.
They are encouraging farmers to leave space for wildflowers to grow along roadways, farmyards, field margins and field corners.
Field margins should be fenced from livestock and can be cut or grazed after flowering. They should not be sprayed of fertilised.
Hedgerows are full of flora and fauna, but are only of value to pollinators if they are allowed to flower
They also advise that where insecticides are being sprayed on tillage crops that it is carried out in the early morning or late evening when honey bees are less active.
Teagasc suggests notifying local bee keepers if insecticide is being sprayed.
On hedgerows, Teagasc says that hedgerows are full of flora and fauna, but are only of value to pollinators if they are allowed to flower.
It is important to have different types of hedgerows on farms, with a diversity of plants, mature trees, new saplings and climbers allowed to grow and flower.
Allowing wildflowers to grow at the base of hedgerows is also good.
If hedgerows are being cut, the advice is to side-trim to a triangular shape with a wide base, leaving the peak of the hedge as high as possible. Allowing individual thorn trees to mature at irregular intervals is also good.