Hundreds of farmers at Flower Rich Field Margins
Flying start for 'Flourishing Farm' project: hundreds of visitors attend field meetings
The three hundred agricultural entrepreneurs who joined the 'Flourishing Farm' project have created six hundred kilometres of wild flower field margins this year. Participants in this collaborative project use special wild flower seed mixes to increase the biodiversity of beneficial insects on their farmland. More than 500 visitors attended the 40 field meetings organised by the 'Flourishing Farm' project this year. They are amazed by the large populations of beneficial insects occurring in fields with flower-rich margins.
Efficient knowledge exchangeAt the field meetings of the 'Flourishing Farm' project hundreds of farmers (project participants and others) exchange knowledge and information on the beneficial role of insects drawn by flower-rich field margins. Their mentor is Merijn Bos, ecologist of the Louis Bolk Institute. During the field meetings he shows that there are many useful insect species found on farmland, and explains their functions. This information helps farmers to reduce or alter their pesticide use. Participants also learn the latest results from scientific research: for example, recent studies have shown that chemical crop protection leads to increased aphid populations in the long run, because pesticides harm the aphids' natural enemies.
Useful and beautifulFlower-rich margins are not only useful for natural pest control; they also increase the beauty of the landscape and provide pollen and nectar for bees and butterflies. Reduced pesticide use also helps to meet other nature management objectives, including farmland bird conservation. After all, most farmland birds feed on insects during the growing season.
About the 'Flourishing Farm' project
The 'Flourishing Farm' project is an initiative of Teunis Jacob Slob, dairy farmer in the Dutch town of Noordeloos, together with the farmers' organisation 'Veelzijdig Boerenland' and the Louis Bolk Institute. Project participants are coached by the growing number of regional organisations for agricultural landscape and nature management, and by the Louis Bolk Institute, the association of organic dairy farmers 'De Natuurweide' and the farmers associations 'Veelzijdig Boerenland' and 'BoerenNatuur'. The Dutch ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation provides funding for three years, within the framework of the subsidy programme for Field margin management. There is room for more participants in the 2012 season. Please visit www.bloeiendbedrijf.nl for more information.
For more information on this project, or to apply for 2012, you may contact project leader Merijn Bos at the Louis Bolk Institute, 0343-523860.
photo: Â©Annelijn Steenbruggen