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Buzzing Fields: M&S Empowers Farmers with AgriSound Tech to Boost Pollinators and Biodiversity

M&S has decided to expand its collaboration with AgriSound, an agri-tech start-up, to 18 additional sites in the UK. This expansion follows successful trials conducted in 2022, where in-field sensor technology was used to support pollinators and increase crop yields for farmers.

The AgriSound Polly technology, which combines acoustic and environmental sensors, allows farmers to monitor the presence of pollinators, like bumblebees and honeybees, in real-time. By using this data, farmers can implement targeted interventions, such as adjusting wildflower densities, to improve crop quality, yields, and overall biodiversity on their farms.

The technology will be deployed in various M&S Select farms, including East Seaton Farm in Arbroath, known for supplying Red Diamond strawberries to M&S stores. The monitoring devices will cover 120 habitats across more than 1,000 hectares, making it the largest retailer-funded trial of its kind. Through this initiative, farmers will have access to real-time insights to make their farms more nature-friendly.

Lochy Porter, owner of East Seaton Farm, emphasizes the importance of understanding pollinators and how they contribute to the farm's success. The collaboration between M&S and AgriSound is part of M&S's Farming with Nature program, launched in 2021 to help Select Farmers adapt to environmental challenges related to climate change and biodiversity loss.

M&S has partnered with LEAF as part of the program to promote pollinator-friendly farming practices among its British fruit and vegetable growers. These practices include setting aside 5-10 percent of habitat for wildlife and monitoring the populations of farmland birds and pollinators. Currently, M&S Select Farm growers are safeguarding and enhancing 9,500 hectares of habitats in the UK.

Andrew Clappen, technical director at M&S Food, emphasizes the importance of sustainable farming in achieving the company's net-zero goal by 2040. Improving biodiversity and supporting pollinators are integral to this plan, and M&S is committed to providing its Select Farmers with the necessary tools and data to enhance their farming practices.

By expanding its partnership with AgriSound, M&S aims to empower farmers like those at East Seaton Farm with real-time data and valuable insights to support their efforts in promoting biodiversity and sustainable farming practices.

Source: M&S


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