David George of Lancaster University's Environment Centre told delegates at last week's Association of Applied Biologists conference on advances in biological control that the project had begun to see that flowers in the field margins can sometimes move away from their 2m seed strips and encroach into vegetable crops.
The strips were planted at a trial plot at Stockbridge Technology Centre (STC) alongside cabbage, carrot, bean and cereal crops. "We're looking to have a buffer grass strip as well - a metre of grass to stop weeds spreading," said George.
The project has been ongoing for a number of years and involves big names such as STC, the Food & Environment Research Agency, Marshalls, Bayer, Syngenta and the Processors & Growers' Research Organisation.
The aim is to find seed mixes that create the best flower-rich field margins to help growers increase biodiversity levels and enhance pest control. Currently the seed mix has more than 20 flowering seed species. But George said: "In the second half of the project we are looking to reduce this quite a lot."