A Million Bees

We are delighted to announce that 4 years into our "A Million Bees on Farm" project, we've finally cracked our target. On Wednesday 24th June 2020, we surveyed our nectar mixes and extrapolated a figure of 1,186,300 bumblebees across the farm. The recent rains came at the right time for our latest tranches of flowers which are simply buzzing. We are immensely proud of this project and it has really highlighted how much of a positive impact we can have on wildlife.

 

Every third bite of food you eat can be attributed to pollinators and we wanted to create an operation on our farm that did not push nature out, but rather embraced it - as a central part of our eco-system and our food cycle.

We are passionate about nature and the role we play as farmers. Modern life has pushed nature to the fringes and farmers can play a major role in helping society restore a more favourable balance.

 

To feed, support and enhance the number of bumblebees across the farm, we provide areas of food and habitats specifically for them. We have developed a rotational system for our pork production that allows us to grow both grass and wildflower mixes. Every year we plant around 34 hectares, 340,000 square metres of nectar rich plant mixes ( the equivalent of 83 football pitches ) in blocks around our farm. Wild birds, butterflies and dragonflies also proliferate during the summer months on these mixes. We stagger the planting of our tranches to provide a consistent, abundant supply of essential food for the bumblebees from mid-May to late September.

 

Mark and Paul Hayward

 

Gill Perkins, chief executive of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust said, "Nobody has done anything on this scale before and the point that should be made here is how committed Mark and Paul are to ensuring that their farm is pollinator-friendly. Their committment and passion for protecting bumblebees has to be applauded. And what they have done here is truly exceptional."

Philip Lymbery CEO of Compassion in World Farming, naturalist and author says, "I so appreciate this important initiative: providing food for a million bees is an incredible aim. I've visited Dingley Dell and applaud Mark & Paul Hayward for their enthusiasm and commitment to animal welfare and the environment."

 

A few pictures showing all kinds of insects loving the nectar-rich plants.