British Beekeeping Association partnership

THE PLIGHT OF THE HONEYBEE


The plight of the honeybee in Britain has been well documented in the press. Bees are in crisis. They are dying and no one knows why – it may be a virus or a mite – but it is wiping out entire colonies of honeybees across the country. If there are no honeybees, there will be precious little pollination; without pollination, the fruit and seed harvests may fail.

Pollination is a fundamental link in the agricultural chain and an elementary part of farming in Britain.

  While the work honeybees do to provide food for Britain’s wildlife is impossible to value, their work for the agricultural economy is easier to quantify: Honeybees contribute a minimum of £200 million to farming every year.
Honeybees are amongst the hardest grafting farm-workers in Britain, yet thanks largely to beekeepers, honeybees’ labour costs us next to nothing. Their demise, however, could cost us all dearly. This is a problem that New Holland, as a major UK manufacturer of agricultural machinery and a key player in the British farming community, is taking very seriously.  
  The number of honeybees in this country has fallen drastically. In the winter of 2007/2008 the number of bee hives or colonies plunged by a third. Last winter the UK lost another fifth of its honey bees. The loss of honeybees means pollination activity has dropped significantly too.
The figures are calamitous and indicate an unacceptable level of disease threats – threats that, as yet, are poorly understood. The British Beekeepers’ Association says that at least £8 million pounds over the next five years is needed to fund proper research and find out what is killing the honeybee and to offer solutions.
The Government and other organisations have reacted to the call, but the money they’ve allocated has been spread thinly. More funds are needed to focus specifically on the country’s key economic pollinator – the honeybee.

Work must be done urgently to protect our honeybee population to avoid failed harvests, rising prices, food shortages and another UK farming crisis.
 

New Holland and the BBKA


  As a key player in the UK agricultural industry, New Holland knows that if the honeybees are in crisis, then it may not be long before the farmers are affected too.

It’s not just horticulture that could be damaged. It affects the rape seed and other harvests too. Because of this, New Holland has forged a special relationship with the British Beekeepers Association to support the work they are doing.
New Holland already strives to be at the forefront of green technology: All new Holland tractors are able to run on 100% bio-diesel and the company has developed the first hydrogen tractor. New Holland sees its work with the BBKA as a very important extension of its environmental policy.  
  As well as providing essential funding for the BBKA, New Holland will use its extensive dealer network and customer base at key agricultural shows and events to raise awareness of the crisis amongst farmers, land-owners, fruit growers and contractors.

New Holland has also pledged to support the BBKA in its bid to educate the public about the importance of honeybees in the environment and the impact the crisis could have on our national food security.
This is a logical step for New Holland: New Holland products are used to harvest crops such as oilseed rape and New Holland’s tractors are designed for orchards and other specialist applications. And it is clear that New Holland customers who use these machines rely greatly on honeybees for their livelihood.

As a corporate member of the BBKA, New Holland will be working with the British Beekeepers’ Association to help them try and find a solution to this crisis.
 

 

For further information please visit www.britishbee.org.uk