The potential for Nitrogen-fixing crops to deliver foraging resources for insect pollinators

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

Abstract

There is growing concern insect pollinator declines will adversely influence global food security. Nitrogen-fixing crops, introduced as an Ecological Focus Area (EFA) in the 2014 CAP reform, provide nectar and pollen resources for pollinators. N-fixing crops therefore have the potential to promote pollinators in intensive arable landscapes. This research explores a range of N-fixing crops when grown as either straight crops or mixtures and determines their value to bees (i.e. bumblebees and honeybees). The number of bees visiting N-fixing crops showed clear differences that were related to phenological differences in flowering period and value of foraging resources (i.e. nectar and pollen). Crimson clover, red clover and mixtures containing these species were particularly profitable. Complementing economically viable species that flower early in the season (e.g. field beans) with species that provide high quality forage later in the season (e.g. crimson and red clover) has the potential to maximise benefits derived from N-fixing EFAs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107
Number of pages112
JournalAspects of Applied Biology
Volume138
Early online dateMar 2018
Publication statusPrint publication - 2018

Fingerprint

pollinating insects
foraging
Trifolium incarnatum
nitrogen
crops
Trifolium pratense
Bombus
nectar
honey bees
pollen
forage quality
food security
beans
flowering
flowers

Keywords

  • Pollinator
  • Bee
  • Agri-environment
  • Ecological Focus Areas
  • Agriculture
  • Sustainable agriculture

Cite this

@article{1d80717fe2114ecaac43f7345f7c4154,
title = "The potential for Nitrogen-fixing crops to deliver foraging resources for insect pollinators",
abstract = "There is growing concern insect pollinator declines will adversely influence global food security. Nitrogen-fixing crops, introduced as an Ecological Focus Area (EFA) in the 2014 CAP reform, provide nectar and pollen resources for pollinators. N-fixing crops therefore have the potential to promote pollinators in intensive arable landscapes. This research explores a range of N-fixing crops when grown as either straight crops or mixtures and determines their value to bees (i.e. bumblebees and honeybees). The number of bees visiting N-fixing crops showed clear differences that were related to phenological differences in flowering period and value of foraging resources (i.e. nectar and pollen). Crimson clover, red clover and mixtures containing these species were particularly profitable. Complementing economically viable species that flower early in the season (e.g. field beans) with species that provide high quality forage later in the season (e.g. crimson and red clover) has the potential to maximise benefits derived from N-fixing EFAs.",
keywords = "Pollinator, Bee, Agri-environment, Ecological Focus Areas, Agriculture, Sustainable agriculture",
author = "LJ Cole and DA Robertson and W Harrison and JA Baddeley and RL Walker and CA Watson",
year = "2018",
language = "English",
volume = "138",
pages = "107",
journal = "Aspects of Applied Biology",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The potential for Nitrogen-fixing crops to deliver foraging resources for insect pollinators

AU - Cole, LJ

AU - Robertson, DA

AU - Harrison, W

AU - Baddeley, JA

AU - Walker, RL

AU - Watson, CA

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - There is growing concern insect pollinator declines will adversely influence global food security. Nitrogen-fixing crops, introduced as an Ecological Focus Area (EFA) in the 2014 CAP reform, provide nectar and pollen resources for pollinators. N-fixing crops therefore have the potential to promote pollinators in intensive arable landscapes. This research explores a range of N-fixing crops when grown as either straight crops or mixtures and determines their value to bees (i.e. bumblebees and honeybees). The number of bees visiting N-fixing crops showed clear differences that were related to phenological differences in flowering period and value of foraging resources (i.e. nectar and pollen). Crimson clover, red clover and mixtures containing these species were particularly profitable. Complementing economically viable species that flower early in the season (e.g. field beans) with species that provide high quality forage later in the season (e.g. crimson and red clover) has the potential to maximise benefits derived from N-fixing EFAs.

AB - There is growing concern insect pollinator declines will adversely influence global food security. Nitrogen-fixing crops, introduced as an Ecological Focus Area (EFA) in the 2014 CAP reform, provide nectar and pollen resources for pollinators. N-fixing crops therefore have the potential to promote pollinators in intensive arable landscapes. This research explores a range of N-fixing crops when grown as either straight crops or mixtures and determines their value to bees (i.e. bumblebees and honeybees). The number of bees visiting N-fixing crops showed clear differences that were related to phenological differences in flowering period and value of foraging resources (i.e. nectar and pollen). Crimson clover, red clover and mixtures containing these species were particularly profitable. Complementing economically viable species that flower early in the season (e.g. field beans) with species that provide high quality forage later in the season (e.g. crimson and red clover) has the potential to maximise benefits derived from N-fixing EFAs.

KW - Pollinator

KW - Bee

KW - Agri-environment

KW - Ecological Focus Areas

KW - Agriculture

KW - Sustainable agriculture

UR - https://www.aab.org.uk/product-page/aspects-138-advances-in-legume-science-and-practice

M3 - Conference article

VL - 138

SP - 107

JO - Aspects of Applied Biology

JF - Aspects of Applied Biology

ER -