Faba bean

Last changed: 06 December 2023

The importance of insect pollination for yield

Project responsible: Riccardo Bommarco, Department of Ecology, SLU Uppsala.

Project group: Sandra Lindström, The Rural Economy and Agricultural Society of Scania, and Ola Lundin, Department of Ecology, SLU Uppsala.



Increased knowledge about benefits, management, and underpinning ecology of ecosystem services such as pollination and biological control of pests, allows for sustainable ways to increase the productivity of field beans - so-called ecological intensification.

Field bean flowers are visited by a range of pollinating insects that can positively affect yields. Many of these pollinators are, however, negatively affected by habitat loss, decreased flower resources and pesticide use. It is unclear whether the presence of wild pollinators in Sweden is sufficient to fully pollinate field beans.

We will examine how the community of pollinators affects yield in commercial fields of field beans, and whether the addition of honey bee hives to field bean fields' increases crop yield.

We will also test if wildflower plantings added to field edges benefits pollinators as well as natural enemies to crop pests.

The project starts 2018.


Organic meat production increases substantially, which has led to an increased need for protein feed. Purchased protein-rich concentrates and imported soybeans can be replaced by locally grown protein feed which optimizes and closes the nutrient cycle on the farm. The field bean (Vicia faba L.) can be cultivated to produce locally grown protein feed, and it is also in an important break crop that fixates atmospheric nitrogen, provides the organic crop rotation with nitrogen and improves the soil structure.