Cover crops have been dubbed ‘pop-up rainforests’ by an article on Hull Live reporting the sustainability activities carried out by 40 suppliers of peas to Birds Eye.
The report focuses on the Sustainable Landscapes Humber Project, which was launched last year with the aim of growing a specially selected range of plant species capable of naturally capturing large amounts of carbon dioxide, restoring soil organic matter and reducing flooding.
James Hopwood, UK Agriculture Manager at Birds Eye, said early results from the pilot project, which is to be discussed at the United Nations Climate Change Conference being held in Glasgow in November, had been positive. “Birds Eye has worked with partner growers in the region to secure the planting of a variety of cover crops over 400 hectares,” he explained. “These crops were then sown to retain nutrients and protect the soil from the elements and capture carbon In just 90 days, the cover crop programme had retained sufficient carbon to make 400 four-person UK families carbon neutral for a year. The programme generated sufficient benefit to offset the impact of cultivation, making ploughing a net zero carbon operation.”
Pea grower Guy Shelby added, “While this is just a pilot scheme, I think it demonstrates how farming can be part of a wider solution to climate change and biodiversity loss. It will help inform decision-makers what could be possible on a larger scale to reduce carbon emissions and create a more resilient and sustainable agricultural supply chain.”
Photo caption: The pilot project aims to reduce the carbon footprint associated with vining pea production