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Pollen count and fruit set data, almond pollination study, effect of honeybee colony arrrangement
File 1: counts of pollen per open flower collected in almond orchards, at known distance from honeybee hives
File 2: fruit set from open pollinated and hand pollinated almond flowers at known distance from honeybee hive placements
File 3: fruit set from open pollinated and hand pollinated almond flowers in almond orchard blocks with a range of diff... moreerent colony per hectare densities.
This research was supported by funding from Horticulture Australia Limited, including levies paid by the almond industry. less
This is field collected data, from many almond orchards in Victoria, Australia, over two flowering seasons
The study was conducted by Saul Cunningham, Mick Neave and Alice Fournier (CSIRO) and Danny Le Feuvre (Australian Bee Services). We thank Olam, their orchard managers and their commercial pollination providers for allowing access and providing information.
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence
Australian Bee Services (Australia), CSIRO (Australia)
Cunningham, Saul; Neave, Mick; Fournier, Alice; Le Feuvre, Danny (2015): Pollen count and fruit set data, almond pollination study, effect of honeybee colony arrrangement. v1. CSIRO. Data Collection.
All Rights (including copyright) CSIRO Australia 2015.
The metadata and files (if any) are available to the public.
1180.4 HAL: Efficient Almond Pollination
1) Pollination shortfalls affect yield of many crops and use of managed honeybee colonies is a common practice for addressing the problem. However, colony density and arrangement strategies are not generally based on replicated scientific trials, so there is considerable uncertainty regarding effectiveness of different practices. We address this pr... moreoblem with experiments in almond orchards in southeast Australia, considering impacts on honeybee pollen foraging and fruit set.
2) We examined the effect of distance from colony location on the depletion rate of pollen from flowers near (~40 m) and far (260-–490 m) from colonies in almond orchards. We assessed pollen loads of 950 flowers in total, collected at four times of day, from 8 near:far pairs. We also surveyed fruit set on nearly 900 trees in replicated transects over two seasons to determine the effect of distance from colony when using large placements of colonies (~120 colonies, N=581 trees), and effect of colony density when using smaller placements of colonies (N=313 trees).
3) Flowers near colonies maintained an approximately constant mean pollen load over the course of the day, indicating that the rate of pollen released by flowers was matched by the rate of pollen collection by bees. Flowers far from colonies increased in pollen load over the course of the day, indicating relatively less pollen collecting activity, so that by 15:30 h they had, on average 46% more than flowers near colonies.
4) Fruit set declined with distance by 22% over 850 m, consistent with the observation that pollen foraging declines over distance from colony. Fruit set also declined with colony density from 46% at 6.8 colonies per ha to 33% at 2.8 colonies per ha.
5) Synthesis and applications.: Pollen collecting activity is relatively low at flowers far from colonies, creating a risk of lost yield through under-pollination. Pollination outcomes in terms of fruit set are improved when fewer colonies are used per placement (<100) and placements of colonies are arranged with shorter distances (<700 m) between them, so that more trees are within 400 m of colonies. Fruit set declines if colony density is reduced below 6.8 colonies per ha, but further experiments would be required to determine the effect of increasing above this density.
pollen counts and fruit set counts
Examining floral pollen counts and fruit set relative to different distances from honeybee hives, and hive densitites
Danny Le Feuvre
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