FARMERS from Arla, the UK’s biggest dairy cooperative, have revealed the results of an initiative they have been working on that could provide a valuable resource for pollinators and wildlife.

Knowing that pollinators need to stop frequently and for short bursts to ‘top up’ their energy/feed, for the last two years a group of Arla farmers joined agronomist, Marek Nowakowski, to look at the best ways to create’pollinator pit stops’ with the overall intention of creating a nationwide chain of pollinator patches to serve as ’rest and refuel’ places for bees and other wildlife.

Research has shown that five small, equally-spaced flower patches per square kilometre would mean all bees could reach a 'fuelling station'.

Now, armed with the findings from this research, the trial farmers are seeking to inspire and support the rest of Arla’s 2400 UK farmer-owners to plant pollinator pit stops on their properties. With each farmer in the trial dedicating half a hectare of land to their pollinator patches, that’s potentially 1200 hectares – or 1680 football pitches’ worth of space – that could be used to support wildlife.

Director of Agriculture at Arla Foods, Graham Wilkinson, said: “Collectively, Arla’s 2400 UK farmers have the size and influence to make significant changes that will increase wildlife across the UK. When it comes to habitats it’s about quality not quantity, which is why Arla’s environmental protocol encourages and assists farmers in increasing the number of essential wildlife habitats on UK dairy farms.” at least consider if they can give pollinator patches a try on farm.”

Mr Nowakowski added: “This has been a really interesting project to work on with Arla, made even more so by the fact the land on dairy farms is so incredibly fertile, sometimes too fertile for the wild flowers due to the natural fertilisers from the grazing cows. This means we’ve really had to think about where we can get the best results with the seed mixes and which mixes yield the best results per location."