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Pollination of crops, new manual


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Went to a meeting this week to learn about the pollination requirements for the new kiwifruit varieties from Mark Goodwin. These have a very short window of two days, and the 'Sweet Green' looks particularly tricky. It may need to be backed up by artificial methods.

 

Mark Goodwin has a new publication out, 'The pollination of crops in Australia and New Zealand' produced for the RIRDC. Very comprehensive. You can download a copy from:

 

 

https://rirdc.infoservices.com.au/items/12-059

 

Here is the foreword:

 

Compared with the other growing practices required to produce a crop, pollination is often the most poorly managed. For many crops this places limitations on production. This Pollination Manual provides growers with a range of tools that can be used to assess the levels of pollination their crops receive. It also provides growers and beekeepers with methods that can be used to better manage, and optimize, pollination. It also discusses how to protect pollinators introduced to orchards.

This project is part of the Pollination Program – a jointly funded partnership with the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC), Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL) and the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. The Pollination Program is managed by RIRDC and aims to secure the pollination of Australia’s horticultural and agricultural crops into the future on a sustainable and profitable basis. Research and development in this program is conducted to raise awareness that will help protect pollination in Australia.

RIRDC funds for the program are provided by the Honeybee Research and Development Program, with industry levies matched by funds provided by the Australian Government. Funding from HAL for the program is from the apple and pear, almond, avocado, cherry, vegetable and summerfruit levies and voluntary contributions from the dried prune and melon industries, with matched funds from the Australian Government.

Funding for this manual was also provided by The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited (PFR), PollenPlus Ltd, The Foundation for Arable Research, and Summerfruit New Zealand.

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Here is a small addendum to the crop list in this excellent reference.

 

This year (2013) I grew a few chia plants (Salvia hispanica) here in Helensville, north of Auckland. They produce a seed with a high omega-3 content.

 

They are a 'short day plant', meaning that they refuse to flower until night time hours exceed daylight hours. The plants here abruptly started flowering in mid april. They are clearly going to have a relatively protracted flowering season, and the flowers are attractive to both bees and bumblebees.

 

The crop is usually grown in drier climates, but it may well succeed in climates such as Hawkes Bay, or maybe, just maybe, Auckland.

 

Anyway, just for the record....5992ea5209422_growseedchiapollinatorbeeapril232013small.jpg.c09788702c86411b1c417ab229ebbfcc.jpg

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Here is a small addendum to the crop list in this excellent reference.

 

Anyway, just for the record....[ATTACH=full]3835[/ATTACH]

 

And just for the record...an addendum to the addendum!

 

Today I saw a wool carder bee on the chia! These plants are growing around 200 metres away from the dentata lavender where the wool carders usually hang out...mind you, I can't see any there at the moment. 5992ea5276caf_growseedchiapollinatorwoolcarderbeemay012013img02small.jpg.6c083c78edd7bbf4da57d25bd5d8aa73.jpg

 

The chia plants are flowering gangbusters, and are heavily attended by bumblebees and bees. I took a moment to check the bees, and none are collecting pollen, so its a nectar 'play' for them.

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And just for the record...an addendum to the addendum!

 

The chia plants are flowering gangbusters, and are heavily attended by bumblebees and bees. I took a moment to check the bees, and none are collecting pollen, so its a nectar 'play' for them.

 

Update 7th may:

 

It's a totally clear, warm and sunny day, almost still, a marked contrast to the heavy rain and wind of the days prior.

 

Again the chia is very heavily visited by bees and bumblebee (and a solitary monarch butterfly).

 

There are different strains of bee present, some very dark, some totally yellow. But across all strains, about 60% of bees have pollen baskets with a brownish yellow pollen, and 40% don't.. So I was wrong about it being only a nectar source - if in fact the pollen comes from the chia.....which is not certain.

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