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    Soybean

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.

Soybean has generally been considered to be a self-pollinating species; however, Erickson et al. (1978) comment on how few published data sets are available to support this hypothesis and remark on how bees have been seen to extensively visit certain varieties of soybean. Even though the quantity of nectar produced by each flower is small, the flower density is high and the areas under crop, in the USA at least are generally big, making it a good food source for bees.  Yield increases of between 10% to 40% have been recorded in soybean when comparing honey-bee-pollinated plants against self-pollinated plants (Robacker et al. 1983) whilst cage exclusions trails have shown  up to 15% increase in production (Erickson et al. 1978).

A more recent study by Chiari et al. (2005) also found that seed production was higher (P = 0.0001) in covered areas with honey bee colonies (50.64%) and uncovered areas (57.73%) than in covered areas without honey bee colonies; they concluded that honey bees were responsible for 95.5% of the pollination accomplished by insects.  The pod number in covered treatment with honey bees was also 61.38% higher (P = 0.0002) than in the covered treatment without honey bees (Chiari et al. 2005).

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