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    Kiwifruit

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.

A kiwifruit vine produces either male or female flowers.  Therefore, the dioecious nature of the crop dictates the need for the planting of both male and female vines in the field for pollination, which entirely depends on vectors such as honey bees and wind.  Kiwifruit produces no nectar and requires a high level of pollen transfer to produce a properly sized and shaped fruit.  A well-pollinated kiwifruit contains 1,000-1,400 seeds.  By contrast, a well-pollinated apple contains 6-7 seeds (Howpage et al. 2001).

The relative importance of honey bees and wind in kiwifruit pollination is unclear, although several researchers have demonstrated the value of honey bee foraging of kiwifruit production.  Vaissiere et al. (1996) found that fruits from bee-visited flowers showed a significantly higher number of seeds compared to those from control flowers, and demonstrated that honey bees are effective pollinators of kiwifruit.  Furthermore, Howpage et al. (2001) found that vines that had no access to honey bees had significantly lower fruit set compared to those vines open to honey bee foraging (Table 2).  Honey bee pollination was also found to significantly increase the mean number of fruit in higher weight classes, resulting in more marketable highly sought-after product for growers (Howpage et al. 2001).  These results show that honey bees were responsible for higher fruit set, increased yields, and larger fruit with higher seed numbers in kiwifruit.  Honey bee hive densities of 30hives/ha (bee saturation) had no significant effect on kiwifruit production and resulting weights of fruit.

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