Pear: Higher yield and better fruit caliber with bumblebee pollination

Lower temperatures and / or rain during flowering ? Pear growers beware, your crop may suffer from insufficient pollination and poor fruit set. Biobest offers the solution: bumblebees. Research by Biobest in collaboration with Veiling Borgloon delivered convincing evidence about the benefits of bumblebees in pear.

The use of bumblebees led to an important increase in yield and fruit size of the cultivars Conference and Doyenné during the 2013 season. The very best results were achieved with Biobest’s latest and award winning bumblebee technology: the Flying Doctors® and the use of pollen.

We already made reference to the promising experiments in pear in collaboration with growers and Veiling Borgloon in an earlier article (see link below). Now the full results are available and they are unequivocal: the introduction of bumblebees leads to a large increase in yield and/or fruit calibre.
Looking at the cultivar Doyenné, a cultivar which is completely dependent on cross-pollination, bumblebee pollination led to a spectacular increase in yield from 27 ton/ha to 56 ton/ha. In addition, the percentage of fruits with ‘ideal fruit size’ increased from 48% to 59%.
In the cultivar Conference, growers often spray giberelinnes to promote fruitset. This was also the case in our test plot. Total yield remained at 52 ton/ha, but the percentage of fruits with ‘ideal fruit size’ boomed: 45% instead of 6% without bumblebees.

Flying Doctors®

And it gets even better! Biobest’s Flying Doctors® hives come equipped with a dispenser that can be filled with pear pollen (commercially available). When leaving the hive, the bumblebees pass through the dispenser tray containing the pear pollen. The pollen sticks to their feet and bodies. The foraging bumblebees then deliver the pollen directly to the flower.

With Flying Doctors®, the yield of Doyenné increased to 68 ton/ha and 70% of the fruits had the ‘ideal fruit size’. Also with Conference, Flying Doctors® achieved the best result with the percentage of fruits with ‘ideal caliber’ peaking at 55%, plus a yield increase from 52 to 55 ton/ha.

And now?

Biobest technical advisor Lode Van Schaeren: “Growers are really excited about the results. We expect a strong increase of bumblebee use in pear cultivation. We are ready to give tailor-made advise to our customers, especially with the Flying Doctors® and pollen applications.”

Biobest researcher Dr. Veerle Mommaerts: “Of course we will continue the testing program to gain even more experience: in other cultivars, in other weather conditions and in other countries. It will be a very busy year because we also achieved very exciting results in kiwi, kiwiberry, cherry and apple.”

Contact your Biobest distributor or representative for more information.

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