M&S is expanding its partnership with agri-tech start-up AgriSound to provide 18 more farms with in-field noise sensor technology.
This will allow farmers to track the number of pollinators visiting their farm in real-time and target specific interventions, such as differing wildflower densities, to improve crop yields and maintain quality of crops, as well as benefitting the wider environment.
Specialist listening devices combine acoustic technology and environmental sensors to monitor the density of key pollinators, including bumblebees and honeybees.
The devices collect and send data, with users able to see results via a smartphone or web app.
The wider launch will cover a range of M&S’ fruit, veg and salad farms and will make up 8% of its British growers, with monitors covering 120 habitats and over 1000 hectares.
The collaboration also forms part of the supermarkets Farming with Nature programme which launched in 2021 to support its Select farmerms to be more resilient to environmental challenges.
M&S Food technical director, Andrew Clappen, said: “At M&S, our Plan A target is to become a net zero business by 2040. M&S Food makes up the majority of our emissions, with 72% of this coming directly from agriculture. Sustainable farming is not just a nice to have but a necessity for our business.
“Improving biodiversity is at the forefront of our plans to help farmers become more resilient to the impact of climate change. Pollinators are the unsung heroes of British farming – helping to improve yields and quality while benefitting the wider environment.
“By expanding out our partnership with AgriSound, farms like East Seaton will have real-time data and valuable insights into what’s working and what’s not.”