Bees true value now being understood
The importance of Insect pollinators – such as bees – to increase canola and pulse crop yields was only now being understood, according to senior CSIRO researchers.
CSIRO researcher Saul Cunningham was speaking to the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) southern region Updates session.
Dr Cunningham said research around the world and in Australia was demonstrating the important role pollinators played in achieving maximum yield in many crops.
“Experiments commonly show that even self-fertile crops such as many brassica species, including canola, yield more when insects increase the rate of #pollination,” Dr Cunningham said.
Dr Cunningham said knowledge around how to manage pollination for greatest yield benefit had not kept pace with other advances in agronomy.
“As a result, we typically pay great attention to inputs such as water, fertiliser and pesticides, but usually have an ad hoc approach to pollination, even when growing crops known to benefit from insect pollination.”
He said critical to supporting insect pollinators in agricultural landscapes was the cautious use of insecticides.
“The risk of exposure to insecticides is one of the challenges for pollinators in agricultural environments,” Dr Cunningham said.
“Protecting pollinators in Australian agriculture begins with careful use of insecticides that stays within the registered uses determined by the regulators.