Digital connectivity is revolutionising UK farming processes with the release of BeeConnected, a web-based system that is bringing farmers and beekeepers together, with the aim to assist in bee health and pollination.
With support from the Crop Protection Association, the digital solution created by digital product agency Code Computerlove, has been introduced by The Voluntary Initiative (promoting responsible pesticide use).
BeeConnected can be used via a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer allowing farmers to register on the system and upload details of a field they are planning to spray with an insecticide that may present a risk to bees (for instance, on a flowering crop or where the field has a conservation buffer strip). This then drops a pin on the screen map. A notification is immediately sent to all neighbouring registered beekeepers within a 5km radius, which includes additional information on the insecticide they will be using and the date they are spraying. Likewise, beekeepers can show their location on an on-screen map and use the system to directly contact nearby farmers.
All insecticides currently approved for use in the UK are held on the system’s database; users can select the product by typing in a name or select an active ingredient from a drop-down list, when they enter an event.
BeeConnected is part of an overall movement to put extra protection in place for bees. It helps users of pesticides meet the requirement under the UK’s Code of Practice to inform local beekeepers when certain pesticides are used.
Richard Murdoch of Code Computerlove, said: “While social networking and dating sites like Tinder are connecting consumers all over the globe, changing the way we interact and live, this is an innovative way of allowing British farmers and bee keepers to connect and work together for the greater good of the honeybee.
“Applying digital techniques in clever and relevant ways, to reduce the risk to bees, is a strong move forward. We’re seeing traditional professions, such as farming, embrace exciting new apps and systems to make their job easier and with longer term greater benefits.
“At present, the website is focused on the spray notification system; in due course the website may offer further relevant information to both farmers and beekeepers, to encourage best practice in protecting pollinators. We will adapt the site and introduce new features as we learn from both farmers and beekeepers on the best ways to apply the technology based on their usage and experience preference.”
Code Computerlove is a digital product agency based in Manchester.