Like many tasks on the orcharding calendar, pollination is one of the most important. Pollination is in full swing at SCH and the bees are working their magic around our sites.
Weather for2022 pollination has been a mixed bag, with early sites having excellent weather for the first bee arrivals and then a period of rain halting bee activity during the middle of pollination for most of the industry.
Kiwifruit requires cross pollen transfer between male and female flowers, for this reason honeybees are the most effective mechanism, however bees are highly weather sensitive. To aid the bees in their task we supplement dry pollen applications on many of our covered sites and during adverse weather and male flower conditions. To optimize this pollen several factors need to be considered, the most important being; timing of application, weather, percentage of flowers open, and bee activity.
Timing of application is directly related to efficiency of pollen use, as bees are most active during the hours of 10am and1pm (This is generally when temperatures are at the warmest). Weather also plays a major factor as applying artificial pollen is on little effectiveness if rain is pending or cold air temperature is current. This will mean bee activity is limited and the pollen is not likely to be moved around by the bees. If conditions are adverse a wet pollen may be a better choice. Percentage of flowers open will likely determine the rate of pollen applied, few flowers open means a low rate of pollen may be required compared to when an orchard is closer to full bloom and a higher rate of pollen is required.