“Look, the reed is much rarer here. You can see right through it”, Wout van de Belt points out. “There it is higher and denser, there it is also a bit wetter. Maybe that makes a difference. We just don’t know now. Maybe there is nothing we can do about it and we have to accept it. But then we have to. well researched. “
These are the busiest weeks of the year for the reed growers in the Kop van Overijssel. They are allowed to mow the reeds until April 15, after which the breeding season starts and the reed beds must be left alone. Wout has a number of reed plots of its own and also mows on the grounds of Natuurmonumenten.
The experienced reed grower is not the only one who signals the decline: “It is even worse in the Weerribben, I hear from colleagues there. They also have this problem in Nieuwkoop. put it in, they no longer sell it as a product. “
Not just for subsidy
For centuries mowing the reed was only focused on the yield: roofing. Nature management now also plays a major role. Mowing keeps the Weerribben-Wieden open and wet, and creates a unique flora and fauna. Reed mowers therefore receive a subsidy for mowing.
But Wout does not want to be completely dependent on subsidies. “If there is another government, it can suddenly end. It is in our blood to do this and it belongs here on the roofs. We are nature managers, but also growers. We want top nature, a top product and also another top yield. “
The reed from Weerribben-Wieden is, according to experts, of excellent quality. In order to make it suitable as a roof covering, this must be taken into account immediately when mowing. The cut reed must first dry thoroughly, then the weeds are combed out and then it is tied together in large bundles.
We want top nature, a top product and also a top yield
It is hard work that Wout does all his life, and also wants to keep it for the future. He sees that many colleagues react somewhat resignedly to the declining yields for years: “Like, ‘It’s not nice, it will last our time.’ But I can’t think like that, I don’t want it to end like that. If we can do something about it, then we should do it. “
Measuring is knowing
Wout is now trying to get colleagues, nature managers and other organizations, to do thorough research into reed yield. The water board and LTO have enough facts and figures about the area, the water quality and the yield per location. But the knowledge to combine that data and find out a possible cause is lacking.
Wout himself is already taking an advance on the research. He is going to experiment on a very small scale with the fertilization of reed. He suspects that the water in the Wieden has now become so clean that the reeds may lack certain nutrients. But the changing climate can also play a role, he says. “I’d really like to know.”