A Merseyside arable farmer has set aside a hectare of land to grow sunflowers to support the local wildlife and raise money for charity.
Olly Harrison, 35, is not going to harvest the sunflowers – instead he is hoping that, as well as being a good source of food for bees, birds and other wildlife, the sunflowers will raise awareness and funds for a Merseyside-based cancer charity called Sunflowers.
At Water Lane Farm in Tarbock, Merseyside, Mr Harrison grows winter wheat, winter rape, linseed, sunflowers, winter beans and spring barley across 1,200 acres. He decided to plan this field of sunflowers and millet are rabbits ate the winter wheat originally growing there.
“Originally I wanted to see if the flower would grow well in my region,” he said.
“After standing in the field watching bees feeding on flowers I thought it would be a shame to harvest them and would be nice to leave them for the birds to feed on over winter. It was at this point that I came up with this idea of raising money from them for charity.”
The independent charity he is raising money for supports cancer patients, survivors and carers in Merseyside.
“I will lose money on the field by not harvesting the flowers but that’s farming at present. I am already losing on the rest of my crops this year with a poor harvest and poor prices, so giving something to a good cause will cheer me up and if it’s successful I will grow some more next year.”