UFU Senior Policy Officer for Arable and Horticulture Patricia Erwin recently attended Cereals 2016.
Following a successful trial in Hertfordshire BeeConnected will officially be launched in September to coincide with autumn spraying.
This new scheme is being promoted by the Voluntary Initiative (VI including UFU), who have worked closely with the Crop Protection Association (CPA), the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and more recently also including the Ulster Beekeepers ‘Association. The development of the site has been funded by the CPA.
UFU has echoed calls from their UK counterparts urging farmers to learn about the initiative, and sign up to the system ahead of its launch. For the new initiative to work it is really important that farmers and beekeepers learn as much about the project. Together the VI partners hope to generate enough interest in each region across the UK to help farmers meet best practice when spraying insecticides.
Following the September launch, BeeConnected will operate on a very simple, yet efficient, two-way communication process: with a few simple clicks, farmers across the UK will be able to identify their fields and inform local beekeepers when they intend to spray an insecticide in particular fields. Similarly, beekeepers across the UK will be able to plot the location of their hives, whether permanently or temporarily placed.
Other stakeholders have voiced their views on the scheme with Tim Lovett of the BBKA noting: “Feedback from the pilot area has been positive. They found the process to register the location of hives straightforward and found the system incredibly useful.”
Susie Hill Chair of the Ulster Beekeepers Association said: “BeeConnected is a much more direct way for beekeepers to communicate with farmers, and will allow farmers to communicate directly with a local beekeeper if they wish.”
The Ulster Farmers’ Union will continue to meet and work with the Ulster Bee Keepers Association to further progress and encourage cooperation and integrated working relationships between farmers and bee keepers.
UFU President Barclay Bell said: “As farmers we have a responsibility to use insecticides responsibly and to protect pollinators. BeeConnected is a simple tool that will accommodate this and I would encourage farmers to register for the system.”
The BeeConnected website will launch in September 2016 and all interested farmers and beekeepers are encouraged to register by visiting www.beeconnected.org.uk.
The UFU and Ulster Beekeepers look forward to discussing and promoting this initiative with their members over the coming months.