Bee Vectoring Technology to Increase the Health, Yield and Quality of Seed and Fruit

Originally published by the Agricultural Adaptation Council

Nov, 5, 2013

Beneficial fungal biocontrol agents have been proven to substantially increase the quality of a broad range of Canadian crops, specifically flowers. However, these agents have not been widely used for flowering crops because of expense and intense labour application. With this in mind, Seeds of Diversity Canada tested a method to use bees to deliver biocontrol agents to insect- pollinated crops for the purpose of controlling fungal diseases and certain insect pests.

The project activities included preparing the bee vectoring equipment, creating powder formulations of the beneficial microbes and designing a methodology for crop trials. The trials were conducted in test crops such as field tests, greenhouse crops, and garden and nursery crops.

For example, in Ontario, sunflower trials were highly successful in four fields of organically grown sunflowers in 2011. This led to an expansion of the trial to a total of 150 acres by five growers in four Ontario counties in 2012. As a result of the success of this trial, Sclerotinia, or white mould, is visibly reduced in the treated crops, with a typical 30% net increase of marketable seed yield over the control.

Cranberry trials, which took place in Ontario, Nova Scotia, and PEI in 2012, were tested for pathogens to determine the best trial options. The initial trials appear to limit the spread of black rot. As well, promising but preliminary results were obtained with canola in Ontario and PEI. Further testing is required to validate these results.

The next step of the project is to make the use of protocols and supportive information readily available and disseminated to interested parties, such as commercial crop producers, growers of heritage seeds, commercial bee interests, and crop advisors. The results of the project have been shared with 11,700 individuals through magazines, conferences, and meetings.

Investment in this project has been provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP), which is delivered by Industry Councils from Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, British Columbia, and PEI.

See Original Article Here

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