I recently visited the Warwick Crop Centre with The Chartered Institue of Horticulture and was hugely impressed by the work of Dr. Rosemary Collier and her dedicated team. Whilst having a tour of the facility, I noticed a group of cornflowers growing in a field of wheat. Dr. Collier told us that the cornflowers were seedlings from a trial in which strips of native plants were sown in field crops to encourage beneficial insects and pollinators.
Unfortunately, a wide headland of native plants did not work as their beneficial effect of them is soon lost a short way into the field. What was needed was several strips of native plants at intervals. With modern day field scale operations, the idea of wildflower strips could be dismissed as romantic nonsense rather than a sensible solution to the increasing problem of crop protection. However, GPS technology is coming on in leaps and bounds and this could allow all sorts of exciting possibilities including wildflower strips.
Without research, all this could become nothing more than a pipedream. The changed political landscape means that research facilities are fearful for their futures. Food security should be a major concern for our political masters and this should mean much more than buying our food from as many countries as possible. Ignoring the valuable contribution made by research into ensuring that we have a plentiful food supply would be unforgivable