The relationship between farmers and beekeepers is a vital one. In the UK around 70 of the crops grown are dependent on, or benefit from visits from bees, a value which is estimated at over £200 million per year.
While the importance of bees to UK agriculture is profound, it has not always been straightforward for farmers and beekeepers to communicate directly with each other. However, a new service – BeeConnected – launched nationwide on 12 September aims to address this issue by digitalising the process of farmers informing beekeepers of their intention to spray an insecticide.
The project is being led by The Voluntary Initiative (VI) and Chairman Richard Butler says BeeConnected has been designed to work quickly and efficiently for farmers and beekeepers alike.
He said: “BeeConnected operates on a very simple, yet efficient, two-way process whereby farmers identify their fields and, in just a few clicks, are able to inform local beekeepers when they intend to spray an insecticide in particular fields. Beekeepers plot the location of their hives, and will then receive a notification ahead of when a farmer within their locality is planning to undertake a spray event.”
During the development of the project the VI worked closely with the National Farmers Union (NFU), the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) who were responsible for the initial BeeConnected proposal, and the Crop Protection Association (CPA), who funded the development of the site.