Explore how ag growers and producers can help pollinators.
By rough estimates, pollinators are responsible for pollinating over 30 percent of the world’s food and fiber crops. All growers and producers benefit from pollinators, even if their crops or livestock don’t rely on pollination. A healthy pollinator population helps crops and wild places to be healthy too. See how everyone in agriculture can do to help pollinators, below.
Agriculture Operators Helping Pollinators
The first step in helping pollinators is to identify those pollinators that aid your production. For the majority of growers and producers, it’s honey bees that do the most pollinating. However, there are many different kinds of bees, additional insects, and even some animals that help too. Once you know the pollinators that help your crops, you can take further steps, such as:
- Supplying food. For most pollinators, flowers are food. When they visit your crop’s flowers for pollen and nectar, they’re gathering food. Planting native wild flowers in addition to your crops means they will be continually attracted to your fields all season, and then they’ll be nearby when your crop is ready for pollination. Leave swaths of natural habit, plant flowering hedgerows, or stands of native wildflowers. Allow crops to bolt—such as letting lettuce flower. The website Pollinators.org, a non-profit that supports pollinators and their habitats, offers Ecoregional Planting Guides that you can download using your zip code.
- Limit environmental contaminants. One of the biggest dangers to pollinators is the use of herbicides and pesticides. For example, the use of certain neonicotinoid pesticides while bees are present is prohibited. Follow guides on Best Management Practices (BMPs) for the use of chemicals and pollinators and/or wildlife.
- Minimize tilling. According to the National Resources Conservation Service’s Pollinator page, some pollinators spend a portion of their life cycles underground, often nearby the plants they pollinate. Tilling destroys these pollinating insects, so minimizing tilling helps pollinators and benefits your soil.
- Team up with your neighbor. Banding with neighboring farmers to reduce pesticide and herbicide use, and to preserve wild habitat will make a greater impact than working along
- Utilize available programs. There are numerous local, state, and national programs that offer assistance with aiding pollinators, and many educational opportunities. Look to your extension offices and USDA offices.
Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.