CATCH THE BUZZ – Precision spray pollination would negate problems such as not having enough honey bees, distribution of pollen-borne viruses and insufficient pollen distribution


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WENATCHEE, Wash. — Spray pollination may someday replace bees in orchards, withholding irrigation before cherry harvest doesn’t do much and adding hand pruning to mechanical pruning every other year boosts yields.

That’s what Matthew Whiting, Washington State University plant physiologist, told growers at the Northcentral Washington Stone Fruit Day in Wenatchee on Jan. 17.

Precision spray pollination would negate problems such as not having enough honeybees, distribution of pollen-borne viruses and insufficient pollen distribution, Whiting said.

Pure pollen can be kept alive in a liquid state for two hours without loss of germinability, he said.

“We are pursuing this further. We are using an electrostatic sprayer for 12 to 14 gallons per acre. Electrostatic because the (flower) stigma has a negative charge,” he said.

For years, growers have debated whether withholding irrigation a week or two before harvest yields better cherries. Whiting said two years of studies led him to conclude “it’s a much ado about nothing.”

While recognizing there are many variables — including soil depth and type, genotype of the cultivar and rootstock and types of irrigation systems — Whiting set up trials withholding water from seven to 17 days before harvest and found no effect on bud density, bloom, firmness, cracking, size or quality.

Soil moisture dropped but trees showed no significant stress, he said.

The only potential benefit was a 2 percent increase in soluble solids, mostly sugar, which could be tasted but only with Lapins and not Chelans, he said. In one case, soluble solids increased 10 to 13 percent and firmness dropped about 6 percent, he said.

Mechanical pruning of planar or fruiting-wall style orchards saves labor and can save 20 percent or more in annual production costs and improve worker safety and efficiency, Whiting said.

Powered by tractors, mechanical pruners hedge the sides of trees and top them. There are more ragged cuts and only half as much wood is removed so a good plan is to remove more wood by following mechanical pruning with hand pruning every other year, he said.

Mechanical pruning is 23 to 29 percent faster than hand pruning. Mechanical combined with hand pruning is 66 percent more efficient than hand pruning alone, he said.

Fruit weight is slightly smaller with mechanical pruning but yield is greater because more wood and more buds are left, he said.

Hand pruning cherry trees costs an estimated $741 per acre versus $168 for mechanical only and $590 for a combination, he said.

The post CATCH THE BUZZ – Precision spray pollination would negate problems such as not having enough honey bees, distribution of pollen-borne viruses and insufficient pollen distribution appeared first on Bee Culture.

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Beekeeping can be a full time profession or a hobby that is simple. Nonetheless, more often than not, what began as a hobby would turn into a profession. But you cannot only tell and decide yourself that you will begin to do beekeeping. You need to have satisfactory knowledge and comprehension on the area that you are going to enter before starting on any avocation or profession. Then it’s about time to indulge yourself if you have been putting off your interest in beekeeping for a long time. Bee farming may not appear difficult; by learning the fundamental beekeeping lessons, you can be got away to a good start.

What does a beekeeper should understand?

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An apiarist ought to know the right place for the beehives. You have to make sure beekeeping is allowed in your area if you decide to set your beehives at your backyard. There are several areas restricted to beekeeping; you have to get permission about this.

Beekeepers must understand whether beekeeping supplies can be found in the place where the beehives are situated. When you must attend an area beekeeping store you may never know; it’s best that a nearby beekeeping shop is accessible.

Equipment and protective tools will also be very important to beekeepers to know. Beekeepers are prone to bee stings; the outfit that is ideal must be worn during beekeeping sessions. This will lessen the chances of being stung by your bees. Know the right kind of suit to pick to keep you from any potential danger in beekeeping.

Last but definitely not the least, among the beekeeping lessons you need to find out is that: it is not unimportant for the beekeeper to understand the appropriate way of harvesting honey. All the beekeeping attempts would be futile if you’re not able to harvest honey from your bees. The methods should be known by a beekeeper in collecting the honey from your comb; beeswax is also part of the returns in beekeeping.

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