Beekeepers and crop farmers across the Goulburn Valley could be a part of a $1billion revenue boost if pollination efforts were increased.
Beekeepers and crop farmers across the Goulburn Valley could be a part of a $1billion revenue boost if pollination efforts were increased.

 

Beekeepers and crop farmers across the Goulburn Valley could be a part of a $1billion revenue boost if pollination efforts were increased, according to scientists behind an Australian research project.

Funded by the Honey Bee and Pollination Program and led by a team of researchers, the project focused on a range of crops in the Goulburn Valley, investigating the economic impact of not having enough insects to ensure maximum pollination results.

Researchers found that by increasing pollination in the region, the economy could potentially benefit from an increase of $78million in business turnover and the creation of jobs.

Shepparton beekeeper Rohan Ford said there was a lot to be gained from increasing pollination on farming properties.

‘‘It increases the yield of stone fruits, and beekeeping businesses obviously benefit from that too,’’ Mr. Ford said.

‘‘A lot of crops in this area rely on pollination, especially in regards to stone fruit, orchardists, kiwi fruits and some tomatoes require a lot of bees.

‘‘There are some crops that won’t grow at all without pollination and other crops will get a much better crop, which will increase their yield and quality of produce.’’

As a small-scale beekeeper, Mr. Ford runs about 130 hives that pollinate a number of agriculture and horticulture crops across the region.

Mr. Ford said many commercial beekeepers had turned to pollination efforts as a more reliable income source, as a result of the fluctuating weather.

While he said he believed more farmers could turn to or increase their pollination efforts, there had been cases where the process wasn’t effective.

‘‘There can be some farmers out there who aren’t careful and they’ll spray insecticides that can wipe out the bee,’’ Mr. Ford said.

‘‘I’ve known of farmers who have sprayed maize and wiped out entire apiaries, so there are certain processes you have to be careful with if you want to get the most out of pollination.’’

Honey Bee and Pollination Programs Advisory Panel chairman Michael Hornitzky said the study was the first of its kind to quantify direct and indirect impacts of pollination shortfalls on the economy.

The research also identified ways in which pollination rates can be increased, including more investment and a better understanding of pollinators.

In workshops in Benalla and Shepparton, La Trobe University Ph.D. candidate Mark Hall will talk about native bees and how land can best be cultivated to help them thrive.

The free native bee workshop will be in Benalla and Shepparton on Wednesday, February 22, for two hours. To register your interest and to find out more, phone Chris Burnett on 57974400.

 

Curated from: sheppnews

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