Project will explore alternative avo pollinators

Project will explore alternative avocado pollinators

Horticulture
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The feds have put some money towards exploring avocado pollination.

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BETTER pollination for avocado trees could be on the way thanks to a Federal Government grant.

The government is investing $510,788 into Western Australian research looking at improving the fertilisation of avocados by investigating pollinators.

The project will use innovative methods to identify insect pollinators, how well they pollinate avocado flowers and whether they pollinate across a whole orchard.

The South West Catchments Council will administer the funds.

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Agriculture minister, Senator Bridget McKenzie, said it has the potential to boost Australia's $483 million avocado industry and $11 billion horticultural sector more broadly by identifying ways to optimise pollination.

"Pollination is a critical issue for the sustainability and productivity of avocados as they're dependent on insect pollination, as are other varieties of perennial horticulture and annual crops as well as some native vegetation," Ms McKenzie said.

"Given the ongoing threat that varroa mite, a parasite that kills their honey bee hosts-the main insect pollinator used in Australian agriculture-could find its way to Australia we need to make sure we have other pollination strategies up our sleeves.

"While this work focuses on the avocado industry in south west Western Australia, it will build our knowledge around pollinators, not just bees, and give industry ideas about how to boost their numbers and efficacy.

"Adaptive management practices might include enhancement of habitat and other resources required by pollinators and improved use of pesticides to reduce negative impacts on pollinators, resulting in improved fruit set and productivity.

"Positive outcomes for avocados are expected to be matched by native flora and fauna benefits."

The West Australian avocado industry produced 25,617 tonnes in 2018/19 - almost a third of Australia's production of 85,546 tonnes.

The grant represents an Australian Government investment under the $57.5 million Smart Farming Partnerships program.

The story Project will explore alternative avo pollinators first appeared on Good Fruit & Vegetables.

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