AGRAVIS participates in a special wildflower project
Mixes of perennial wildflowers have been sowed on more than 20 hectares around Oelde and Beckum in Warendorf district. The first harvest is now ready. TerraVis, the biogas unit of AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG was also involved in the project.
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It is a beautiful picture: The wildflowers stand colourful and bright in the fields. And what looks so idyllic has a very clearly defined sense and purpose. Mixes of perennial wildflowers have been sowed on more than 20 hectares around Oelde and Beckum in Warendorf district. The first harvest is now ready. To the video.
Markus Degener is the initiator of the project and explains: "The number of flying insects has fallen considerably in the last few years." The results of which include animals, which rely on animal protein, being able to find considerably less food. The pollinators are also extremely important to agriculture. What now matters is to counter this through agriculture and other interest groups in rural areas. Blooming wildflower populations like those in the Warendorf district are, he continues, a paradise for butterflies, bees, bumble bees and other insects. In addition, the committed nature lover explains, the colourful swathes are an ideal retreat and source of food for birds, wild animals and small mammals.
Among others, TerraVis, the Biogas unit of AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG is involved in Degener's project. "In particular, we are interested in a possible gas yield from wildflower silage," says Dr. Philipp Spinne, Sales Manager at TerraVis. To this end, experiments are currently underway, which should clarify whether and for whom the cultivation of a perennially usable seed mixture is worth it. Other partners of the project are three biogas plant operators and farmers from the region, the Wernigeroder Jagdkorporationen Senioren-Convent (WJSC), local beekeepers, Energieagentur NRW, Claas Erntemaschinen and the Warendorf district association of the Westfälisch-Lippischer Agricultural Association (WLV), the Initiative Lebensraum Feldflur, Warendorf district and the Association of Hunting Societies and hunting rights owners Westfalen Lippe.
The wildflower mix (BG 90) was presented by TerraVis and AGRAVIS at the DLG field days in Bernburg in June. The seed mixture has been deliberately composed of almost 30 types and comprises annual, biannual and perennial plants and shrubs. "Not all plants are represented in the mixture because of their yield. Some are interesting primarily from ecological perspectives," explains the TerraVis expert. Other shrubs have to be given some time to establish before they properly provide a yield.
Other benefits of these energy plants are a high-quality protection against erosion, enrichment of the organic substance in the soil and a natural reduction in the leaching of nutrients. "The wild plants have to be integrated seamlessly into the crop rotation system, taking into account the longer vegetation period and the multi-year period of use." With this cultivation system, biodiversity promotion and the environment can also be economically sensibly integrated into agricultural production.
Political decisions, such as the Renewable Energies Act (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz - EEG) and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), encourage the use of ecologically sensible substrates, which also include wild plant mixtures. They are rewarded, for example, with an increased infeed remuneration. "This may be an interesting point, especially for existing plants from the EEG 2012, which in view of the latest political developments increasingly have to concentrate on their profitability," according to Spinne.
For him, initiator Markus Degener and all other participants, the coming years will mainly be about checking whether the joint efforts are successful. "There is a spirit of optimism. Everyone wants to do something and get involved," says Degener. This positive attitude should also result in measurable ecological and economic benefits.