Ecological seed mixes to meet agronomic needs

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21 March 2023
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Mixtures can give financial as well as environmental and soil health boost, say suppliers.

WILDFLOWER and environmental seed mixtures from the Syngenta Operation Pollinator initiative could enable potato growers to bring about ecological enhancements while making agronomic gains. 

Created in association with specialist seed supplier, Kings, the mixes are backed by 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, according to Syngenta Sustainable Farming Manager, Belinda Bailey.

The mixes can 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. 

Belinda said: “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.” 

Mixes that might benefit British potato growers during the 2023 season include:

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Operation Pollinator Annual Flower Mix which is sown in the autumn and aims to encourage pollinating insects and habitat for beneficial pest predators. It can be left in situ for two successive seasons.

The Syngenta Green Headland Mix which is fast-growing and strong-rooting and 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. 

The non-brassica Green Headland Mix is designed for potato and other field vegetable growers, providing soil protection and nutrient capture.

The Bees and Seeds Mix 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. Sunflowers in the mix not only provide colour and attraction, but also provide a long-lasting food source for farmland birds.

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