Pollinus increases yields

May 16, 2024 | 5 Min read
A novel honeybee attractant enhancing the performance of bees as crop pollinators is showing its potential value in nut crops in Australia.

A novel honeybee attractant enhancing the performance of bees as crop pollinators is showing its potential value in nut crops in Australia.

UPL Australia BioSolutions manager Neil Innes said Pollinus was launched two seasons ago and recent trials show that it is performing in the field for Australian orchardists.

A recent demonstration trial in an almond orchard in Griffith, NSW, saw 73 per cent nut retention from one application of Pollinus, compared to 47 per cent retention from one application of the grower standard product.

Nut retention on the untreated control area was 44 per cent.

At final harvest just completed, this resulted in an average nut yield increase against the control of 12 per cent.

“The demonstration trial highlights the potential benefit of Pollinus to nut crops that require pollination by European honeybees (Apis mellifera),” Mr Innes says.

“The higher nut retention and yield results highlight Pollinus helps make the most of foraging honeybees as pollinators, especially during challenging flowering seasons, such as 2023-24,” he says.

The trial was undertaken with assistance from Elders Griffith branch in a selected orchard of Nonpareil, Carmel, Price and Monterey varieties of seven year-old almond trees, with 298 trees per hectare. 

Store agronomists conducted three assessments, at flower-fruit set, post carbohydrate shed and pre-harvest.

Both the Pollinus and grower standard product were applied at 5-10 per cent flower.

Hive density was six per hectare with 10 frame boxes (in good health).

Based on a blend of four botanically sourced 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 nut set.

“Pollination by honeybees is an essential crop management practice in many nut crops, especially almonds which have 100 per cent dependence on honeybees as their only insect vector for pollination (as a per cent of yield)."

“Pollinus is particularly beneficial in cooler conditions or where there are alternative, more attractive flowering crops, as it encourages bees to pollen forage in the applied orchard.”

It is applied at the beginning of flowering (10 per cent of flowers open), normally when hives are introduced into the crop and preferably during the mornings, with a second spray following at full bloom.

"Pollinus contains four natural plant derived pheromones and is formulated as a 450g/L liquid formulation.

“We recommend two applications at a 1L/ha rate, with a minimum water volume of between 500–800 litres in orchards, using a high-pressure sprayer but not exceeding the point-of-runoff.”

Although relatively new to Australia, Pollinus has been used successfully for many years in the UK and Europe. 

Manufactured and developed in France by a wholly owned subsidiary of UPL Limited, the product has shown consistent benefits to growers over a wide range of pollination sensitive crops.

Mr Innes added pollination by honeybees is an essential crop management practice in many other crops.

“The list of crops that could benefit from enhanced pollination is extensive and includes both tree crop and small crop horticulture, and both field and protected crops.

“The list includes almonds, apples, avocadoes, berries, cherries, macadamias, and plums.”

“If you haven’t already tried Pollinus we encourage you to trial it to get your bees working harder for you during this coming flowering season,” Mr Innes added.

 

 

 

 

Categories Bees and pollination

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