Lithuania: Payments for cut and spread grass in meadow will no longer be available
Beekeepers, like other applicants declaring perennial grassland and pastures, must mow them in order to receive direct payments and grab the hay and remove it from the field or stack it in cones. Until now, beekeepers were able to crush the grass and spread it evenly in the meadow until September 1st.
The terms of mowing have not changed. Therefore, beekeepers in the Farm Animal Register until July 1 of the current year. after mowing the existing bee colonies, must mow the meadows at least once a year no later than 1 September of the current year. This term was not changed, only the way of arranging meadows changed, which does not affect the flowering and pollination of herbaceous plants, ie bees pollinate the plants before this term.
The leaders of the beekeepers' union said they understood the minister's arguments regarding the change in the meadow maintenance procedure, which was adopted after assessing the position of environmental and agricultural scientists and experts on leaving mowed biomass in the fields (grass shredding and spreading).
Shredding, or in other words - mulching - according to scientists, has a negative impact on environmental agricultural processes: the structure of vegetation changes at the mowing site, meadow-like plants disappear, mold grows in the shredded biomass.
Only the way of arranging the meadows has changed, which does not affect the flowering and pollination of herbaceous plants. Therefore, speaking about natural meadows and habitat protection, Minister K. Navickas emphasized that he sees beekeepers as allies.
"Of course, we need to find a solution to what to do with phytomass, because shredding is definitely not the answer," said the Minister of Agriculture about the need for future solutions.
"We have a year, we will watch what is happening, I do not believe that it will start massively close. Fuses, in my opinion, are enough. It is necessary to find that intermediate option that is more focused on the program of natural, beekeeping meadows. However, the management of the meadows will definitely come with the removal of grass and the monitoring of their condition. The quality indicators of the meadows would be assessed."
Laimonas Galvonas, the owner of the largest organic beekeeping farm in Lithuania, suggested two possible solutions to the problem. "The principle of agri-environmental protection should be the main one. Our offer is two-way. Perhaps two types of meadows could be maintained. Some are natural, with as little economic activity as possible and the preservation of the entire natural ecosystem.
"This would result in a sufficient number of flowering plants - a food source for bees. The second could be the sowing of honey meadows, when honey meadows are formed from various mixtures of honey plants. This would enrich the base of honey plants in those areas and increase the number of other natural insect pollinators, increase the size of their population, ”the beekeeper suggested to turn the problem of meadow mulching in the other direction.
The Minister of Agriculture and the leaders of the Beekeepers' Union agreed to look in the future for ways to preserve meadows that benefit bees and the soil ecosystem.
Last year, 5032 beekeepers declared areas. Their total declared area is 102,513.75 ha. ■