Flower strips: Objectives
- To provide food, habitat and shelter for insects, pollinators and wildlife.
- To better understand how to manage biodiversity and improve its impact with regard to arable crops.
- For the plants and root mass to contribute to loam formation and soil richness.
- Average size: approximately 1,000m².
Flower strips: IFAB collaboration
Since 2018, our collaboration with the Institut für Agrarökologie & Biodiversität in Germany (Institute for Agroecology and Biodiversity, IFAB) has led to pioneering research on the impact of flower strips:
- A sugar beet field with integrated flower strips to enhance biodiversity.
- Developing management strategies (‘steering’) for flower strips.
- Measuring beneficial insects, pests and pollinators.
- The impact of the type of flower mix.
- The impact of the sowing period.
- How does this impact the crop quality?
- Bird monitoring.
- Monitoring the impact of flower strips installed near sugar beet fields during different years:
- Large fields > 20 hectares
- Different biotopes
- Comparison zones:
- Zones with limited grassland structure and buffer strips
- Flower strips, as a habitat, are beneficial not only for insects (flower strips contain 400-500% more biomass** than cultivated fields), but also for birds and other animals.
- Pollinators and beneficial insects that visit the flowers are particularly attracted by the pollen and nectar.
- If the strips remain throughout the winter, they provide valuable winter nourishment for birds, as well as cover for game and overwintering opportunities for insects.
- Flower strips must be maintained to control weeds and grasses at an early stage.
Our 2022 objectives
- Continue dialoguing with growers about how to increase the number of flower strips.
- Continue collaborating with the IFAB throughout the 2021-2023 period.
- Promote a biodiversity standard that:
- is developed by an external institute (IFAB);
- includes a catalogue of measures;
- focuses on the scientific impact of these biodiversity measures;
- is used to train growers. In 2022: the goal is to start working with ten growers in Germany.
- Conduct research to better understand how to reduce inputs and pesticides (initial results expected in the first quarter of 2023).