Ecological seed mixes to meet agronomic needs

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Wildflower and environmental seed mixtures now available from the Syngenta Operation Pollinatorinitiative will enable farmers and growers to establish habitats proven to deliver significant ecological enhancements and agronomic gains.

Created in association with specialist seed suppliers, Kings, the mixtures have been specifically selected to achieve reliable establishment under farm conditions, as well as cost-effective management.

All the Syngenta Operation Pollinator seed mixes are backed by repeated years of research and studies of the ecological and biodiversity gains, including for pollinating insects and beneficial pest predators, along with agronomic features of nutrient capture and soil improvement.

The mixes can also be fully utilised within SFI and Countryside Stewardship strategies, including pollen and nectar flower mix (CS AB1 & AB8) and provision of winter bird food (CS AB9), or as a watercourse buffer strip (CS SW4) – attracting payments now worth up to £732 per hectare. Furthermore, with the advent of new and diverse funding coming through from the private sector these mixtures may attract additional payments for growers.

Syngenta Sustainable Farming Manager, Belinda Bailey, highlighted that 20 years of Syngenta investment in Operation Pollinator research and on-farm trials has refined the mixes and the management techniques to help assure reliability and success for growers.

“Ecological payments for many are an increasingly important part of a farm’s overall income stream. Ensuring habitats can be consistently created and managed effectively to meet the requirements of schemes is essential to achieve their objectives,” she said.

“The Operation Pollinator mixes that have proved so popular in past seasons continue to deliver on both ecological and economic fronts. New research is continuing to ensure they meet the changing legislative landscape and fit seamlessly with agronomic practices in a shift to regenerative agriculture systems.”

Syngenta Operation Pollinator mixes for the 2023 season include:

Operation Pollinator Annual Flower Mix

A carefully selected mix of flowers designed to be easy to establish and manage, yet offering an incredibly rich diversity with immense visual appeal when in flower. Autumn sown it is one of the earliest flowering mixes in the season – before many of the perennial flower margins – to encourage pollinating insects and habitat for beneficial pest predators. It is ideal to fill the hungry gap for insects after OSR flowering.

Kings’ advice: The mix that goes on giving, research has even shown it can be left in situ for two successive seasons with great results.

Price £76.67per hectare pack (+ VAT)

Syngenta Green Headland Mix

A fast growing and strong rooting mix originally designed for sowing on uncropped areas surrounding potato and vegetable fields. The cover provided helps to protect from soil erosion and damage from farm equipment, while also capturing and retaining high levels of valuable nutrients in the field.

Kings’ advice: Growers’ experience using the technique has shown that performance of the following crop on headlands after using the Green Headland Mix is hugely enhanced, compared to fields where no cover has been sown.

Price: £69.50 per hectare pack

Non-brassica Green Headland Mix

Designed for field vegetable growers or arable farms with brassica crops are a key part of the rotation, the non-brassica version of the Green Headland Mix provides the same benefits of soil protection and nutrient capture as the standard, while maintaining the rotational break clubroot and pests.

NEW – Research looking at the benefits of planting these margins in the tramlines of vegetable fields.

Kings’ advice: The non-brassica mix may also prove more suitable for farms with ongoing issues with flea beetle infestations, which could compromise brassica establishment.

Price: £66.50 per hectare pack

Bees and Seeds Mix

A mix that pioneered proactive multi-tier ecological habitat management. It is designed to provide vibrant flowering as crucial source of pollen and nectar for insects through the late summer and autumn, along with seed-bearing heads to give farmland birds an essential source of food through the winter months.

Kings advice: Sunflowers in the mix are a real stand-out for colour and attraction, as well as a long-lasting food source for farmland birds. The mix provides an ideal habitat for game birds and complements game cover.

Price: £86 per hectare pack

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