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Calling farmers and growers: Super-B needs your help!

24 December 2015

Researchers at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) have joined forces with scientists and practitioners from across Europe to form the SUPER-B network (http://www.superb-project.eu/). Insect pollinators (e.g. solitary bees, bumblebees and hoverflies) have declined globally and with insect pollination increasing yields in over 70% of crops worldwide, declines pose a threat to agricultural production.

In the face of insect pollinator declines, the SUPER-B network aims to increase the sustainability of crop pollination in Europe.  While a wide range of wild insects have the potential to pollinate crops, farmers and growers often over rely on honeybees.  Reliance on a single species is risky, especially since honeybees are vulnerable to pests and diseases.   Pollination may therefore become limited by the availability of honeybees, particularly in Europe where honeybees are typically kept for honey production rather than for pollinating crops (a practice relatively common in the United States).

SUPER-B hopes to identify how beekeepers’ preferences and farmers’ requirements can be better integrated by increasing our understanding of:

  • Beekeepers’ preferences for forage plants and crops
  • Farmers’ preferences for managed and wild pollination of specific crops

To help answer these questions the SUPER-B network has developed two questionnaires. One aimed at farmers and growers while the other is aimed at beekeepers.   SRUC researchers are asking for your help to make sure that Scotland’s farmers and growers are properly represented. If you grow crops that are pollinated by insects (e.g. oilseed rape, beans, soft fruits, orchard fruits etc.) please spare 15-20 minutes of your time to answer our questionnaire which is available online at:

https://readingagriculture.eu.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_3RkBFnqt1frYAlf

To ensure that our farmers and growers are represented in their own right, please identify your country as Scotland rather than the UK in the online questionnaire.

If you have any questions, require additional information or a paper copy of the questionnaire please don’t hesitate to contact Lorna Cole.

Email: Lorna.Cole@sruc.ac.uk      Telephone:  01292 525 295

Dr Lorna Cole, Future Farming Systems, SRUC

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