Announcements

Job offersmore »



Tweeting Growers

Top 5 - yesterday

  • No news has been published yesterday.

Top 5 - last week

Top 5 - last month

Exchange ratesmore »




"Bumblebees boost blueberry yield"

Bumblebees can boost blueberry yield by 70 percent, good news for Florida growers in the heart of their blueberry season, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences study shows.

The news also accentuates the need for blueberry pollinators, said Joshua Campbell, a post-doctoral researcher in the UF/IFAS entomology and nematology department.

After caging bumblebee hives with highbush blueberry bushes, researchers found that 70 percent of the flowers produced blueberries, while less than 10 percent of those without bumblebee hives produced blueberries. That’s helpful news for blueberry growers, said Campbell, co-author of a new study published in the Journal of Environmental Entomology.

“We think our findings are very relevant for growers who are growing blueberries in greenhouses and high tunnels,” Campbell said.

Like other fruit plants, blueberries need pollinators, such as bees, to grow. Farmers are growing increasingly dependent on western honeybees, scientists say. But bumblebees are more active in poor weather and pollinate highbush blueberries more, so UF/IFAS researchers wanted to test bumblebees on a local blueberry farm.

Thus, researchers conducted their experiment on a large commercial blueberry farm in North Florida and found good results.

Florida blueberry growers already use bumblebees on their farms, but until now, they lacked evidence to back the use of such bees on highbush blueberries, Campbell said.

The Sunshine State only has five bumblebee species. But most are fairly common in central and northern Florida, Campbell said. Only one of these – the type used in the UF/IFAS research — can be managed and utilized to pollinate.

In order to obtain a good commercial yield, a grower would need to augment the bumblebee population by placing hives within their fields, Campbell said.

The biggest chunk of Florida’s blueberry crop is grown in Alachua, Lake, Marion, Putnam and Sumter counties, an area that accounts for about 40 percent of the state blueberry acreage. Next in acreage is an area that includes Hernando, Hillsborough, Orange, Pasco and Polk counties.

Because Florida blueberry production comes from early ripening varieties, Florida growers receive higher prices from April to May, when they are the main suppliers, according to a UF/IFAS Extension document, http://bit.ly/2ohUaeU.

Source: University of Florida

Publication date: 4/10/2017

 


 

Other news in this sector:

10/19/2017 World record breaking carrot weighs in at 23 pounds
10/19/2017 US: High tunnel berry cultivation guide updated
10/19/2017 Tomato and lettuce intercropping in a soilless system
10/19/2017 Spain: Climate change forces changes in harvest cycles
10/19/2017 Dutch go crazy on weed...duckweed that is
10/12/2017 High expectations for new Dutch cannabis regulation
10/12/2017 Africa: New app diagnoses crop diseases and notifies farmers
10/11/2017 Micronesian students get updated on hydroponics
10/11/2017 China makes hefty investment in water conservancy projects
10/11/2017 Developing New Plant Lighting Standards
10/10/2017 Vietnamese farmers trial new Ilyra smartphone control system
10/10/2017 "Win-win strategies for climate and food security"
10/10/2017 Copa and Cogeca highlight importance of agriculture for sustainability
10/10/2017 CEAC Greenhouse Plant Physiology and Technology Course – Week 7-2
10/6/2017 US (MI): Raspberry cultivar performance under tunnels
10/6/2017 How to define sustainable agriculture
10/4/2017 European Commission reaffirms importance of sustainable usage of water in agriculture
10/3/2017 5 ways to improve HVAC in a greenhouse
9/29/2017 Mexico: UAAAN develops hydroponic system
9/28/2017 Spanish project seeks to improve climate change tolerance in tomatoes