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pollination services

    Clover

Below is an extract from a pollination research paper prepared by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC).  To download the document, simply click on the image on the left of this screen.

Pollination has consistently been identified as a major limiting factor to higher, more reliable seed yields and improved seed quality.  Most forage legumes are dependent upon insects for pollination, and in the case of many clover species, this situation is frequently held responsible for limiting the seed production from these crops (Holm 1966).  The number of different clover species and cultivars grown in Australia has led to little in the way of clear recommendations for pollination requirements for seed production.

It has been commonly accepted that flowers of white clover (Trifolium repens L.) are hermaphroditic (having both male and female reproductive organs) and self-incompatible; their cross-pollination depending entirely on insect visitors, mainly bees (Rodet et al. 1998).  Research in Victoria suggested that honey bees comprised 88% of all insect visitors to white clover and the action of insect visitors increased seed yields by 3100% when plots were caged to exclude bees (Goodman and Williams 1994).  The same research suggested that the stocking rate of 70 hives per 100 hectares was rather light and a higher stocking rate would be expected to increase the yields even further (Goodman and Williams 1994).

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