It’s easy to think about pollinators in midsummer when the rape is in flower and peas and beans are buzzing with bees. But where are your pollinators in early spring?

The National pollinator strategy: for bees and other pollinators in England, was published by the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in November last year. The strategy acknowledges that farming is not the only sector which needs to take action to support our pollinator populations, but it does identify farmland as the first in five key areas, saying the government will:

  • Work with farmers to support pollinators through the CAP and with voluntary initiatives to provide food, shelter and nesting sites.
  • Minimising the risks for pollinators associated with the use of pesticides through best practice, including Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

The government has made it clear that it is looking to farmers to really make the most of EFAs to help deliver this strategy.

In the document Greening: how it works in practice, DEFRA writes “… We would like farmers to consider, on a voluntary basis, how their selection and the management of those EFA options can bring the greatest environmental benefit on their holding, particularly for bees and pollinators.”

There is definitely going to be great scrutiny as to the effectiveness of the voluntary approach to delivering the strategy and the industry needs to rise to this challenge or face more stringent statutory measures in the future.

If you would like more information on how to make the most of EFAs for pollinators, or in any other aspect of conservation management around the farm, contact us.

See the CAP reform here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/cap-reform-august-2014-update-including-greening-how-it-works