Pollen harvesting is coming to an end for the 2022 season. At SCH we’ve currently harvested around 420kgs of flowers, which is equivalent to approximately 4.20kg of pollen. Harvesting of male flowers allows for the pollen contained within the flower to be milled and collected, and later applied to orchards.
Male flowers need to be harvested when they are still closed but are near to opening. This is most recognised as the “popcorn” phase. This is the stage of development when the flower contains the most pollen without any being released or taken by bees and other pollinators. Weather is an important factor of the male flower harvesting season, as flowers open quicker in warm weather due to cells expanding and becoming rigid.
Once the flowers have been picked, they are taken to flower mills which cut up the flowers to separate the anthers from the filament and remove the petals and sepals. Using vacuums and filters, the anthers are separated from the rest of the flower and blown onto trays where they are placed in drying racks. The drying racks maintain the humidity and moisture content to help with extracting the pollen from the anthers. This is done in an extraction unit containing smaller particle filters and a vacuum. The pollen is potted and refrigerated to be used for the following season.