The National Biodiversity Data Centre has challenged farmers to find up to 40 different species of plants and animals on their lands this year.

The ‘Biodiversity on your Farm’ project, run in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), encourages farmers to “keep an eye out for biodiversity” on their farms, especially pollinating insects.

Each week, a different species with a pollinator focus is selected by the project team.

Farmers are then able to record any successful sightings on the National Biodiversity Data Centre website.

To date, farmers have been asked to see if they can detect the early bumblee, Marsham’s nomad bee, Clarke’s mining bee and the grey (or ashy) mining bee on their holding.

The project team has also selected the red dead-nettle and the common dandelion, which is a valuable native plant for pollinators in early spring.

Farmers are provided with a species profile to help with identification along with a weekly ‘biodiversity management tip’ with simple actions that you could do to help that species on your farm.


Ruth Wilson, the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan farmland officer, told Agriland that farmers do not need to have any previous experience to start recording.

“Each species has a lovely profile that they can have a look at and it just tells them where they would find it on the farm and key identification features,” she said.

“I grew up in a farm and my dad wouldn’t have known the name of something but he would always know that ‘wee yellow bird’ or whatever.

“So I think it’s a nice tool, to help farmers actually know what the species is and what it needs to survive and what its lifecycle is, if it hibernates or migrates or anything like that. It is quite interesting.”

Farmers can also undertake a simple 10-minute flower-insect timed count using a dedicated app on their smartphone.

“If you repeated that over the next five years, you would get an idea if things are better or worse you know on on the farm,” Wilson said.