Improve fruit quality & yield

A novel honeybee attractant that enhances and improves the performance of bees as crop pollinators is now available from UPL Australia.

Based on a blend of four attractant pheromones, Pollinus both attracts foraging bees and maintains pollen gathering bees within the sprayed area.

Targeted application at flowering attracts honeybees into the orchard to dramatically improve pollination, essential for seed and fruit set in many high value fruit and nut crops.

"Pollinus will help make the most of bee performance as pollinators and its launch is great news for Australian growers and beekeepers alike,” says Neil Innes, UPL Australia BioSolutions manager.

He said Pollinus can be beneficial to growers of a wide range of crops that require pollination by bees.

"The list of crops that could benefit from better pollination is extensive. On the tree crop side, the list includes almonds, apples, avocados, berries, cherries, macadamias, and plums. Both field and protected crops can benefit."

Mr Innes said pollination by bees is an essential crop management practice in many crops. “It is estimated that over one third of our food crops worldwide rely on pollination by insects, with bees providing seventy percent of this.”

Tree crops with one hundred percent dependence on honeybees and insects for pollination (as a percent of yield) include almonds, apples, avocados, blueberries and some pear varieties.

“What Pollinus will do is attract the bees that are active into the treated crop," Mr Innes said. “It is particularly beneficial in cooler conditions or where there are alternative, more attractive pollen sources, as it encourages bees to pollen forage in the orchard where Pollinus has been applied."

Mr Innes said the social life of bees is ruled and regulated by pheromones, and bee activity is influenced by these pheromones as well as other visual, olfactory, and gustatory stimuli.

“The pollen gathering bees are governed on one hand by dances and on the other hand by scents or trace pheromones produced or conveyed by the exploring bees.

“Pollinus reproduces these scents as exactly as possible, attracting the exploring bees and pollen gathering bees that could otherwise be drawn to other crops with more attractive nectar.”

“Growers apply Pollinus to their crops at the beginning of flowering (ten percent of flowers open), normally when hives are introduced into the crop and preferably during the mornings, with a second spray when ninety percent of flowers have opened.

"Pollinus is formulated as a 450 g/L liquid formulation containing four natural plant derived pheromones. We recommend two applications of Pollinus at a 1 L/ha rate, with a minimum water volume of 600 litres in orchards, using a high-pressure sprayer but not exceeding the point-of-runoff.”

Although new to Australia, Mr Innes said Pollinus has been used successfully in the UK and Europe. Manufactured and developed in France by a wholly owned subsidiary of UPL Limited, he said the product has shown consistent benefits to growers over a wide range of pollination sensitive crops.

With increased pollination, it was important to retain and maintain this extra fruit, and for this Mr Innes said he recommends using UPL’s new biostimulant ‘BM Start’.

“BM Start is a physiological activator for improving fruit set. It activates the plant’s ability to utilise nutrients and polyamines synthesis (flowering hormones), essential in fruit set and early development of the fruit. Young fruit develop more quickly and have improved homogenous sizing at maturity.

“This technology is the result of decades of research by Goëmar Laboratories in France (a UPL subsidiary) and has proven results across the globe since its inception in the early 1980’s,” he said.

“BM Start is a complete foliar product to reduce sensitivity of crops to climatic constraints and the adaptability needs of crops to better achieve quality flowering and fruit set, faster fruit development, higher average fruit weight, more grouped maturity, a more homogenous harvest and excellent fruit quality.”

Pollinus will be available for this flowering season and BM Start is available now from agricultural supply outlets.

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