Our Industry Approach
Good almond yield starts with effective pollination. Most almond varieties require cross-fertilisation and so Almond orchards in Australia are planted with alternating rows of pollinator varieties with Nonpareil, the main eating variety. The almond industry relies on a commercial supply of European honey bees (Apis mellifera) being the most efficient and effective pollinator of almond flowers.
The industry undertakes a number of initiatives to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of almond pollination and supporting honey bee health.
Almond grower levy’s, together with commonwealth government funding through Hort Innovation and the Hort Frontiers Pollination Fund, support projects that improve knowledge in pollination efficiency as well as co-investment in the national surveillance program to prevent exotic pests and diseases entering Australia that have the potential to decimate bee numbers.
MT16005: Enhanced National Bee Pest Surveillance Program
This multi-industry investment is delivering a nationally coordinated bee-pest surveillance program for early detection of high-priority pest to help safeguard honey-bee and pollinator-dependent industries in Australia. It includes upgrading sentinel hive arrays, strengthening relationships with surveillance operators, pest and disease screening.
PH17001: Development of Non-invasive Methods and Systems for the Assessment of Hive Health
This project is determining colony characteristics that will deliver effective pollination across different horticulture crops with quality assurance models in mind. The project will test available hive sensing technologies to evaluate if they are fit for purpose in assessing hive health.
Best Management Practice for Pollination
The ABA pollination committee has guided the development of a series of publications to actively promote honey bee best management practices for growers to maximise the benefits from honey bee pollination while preserving the health of hives during their short stay in the orchard. As we learn more from our research investment we will update the ABA honey bee best management practices guidelines for Australian almond pollination stakeholders.
Best Management Practice Resources
A Quick Guide for Growers
Providing a safe environment for honey bees to forage, and maximising the number of almond flowers pollinated is a year-round activity. Here is a summary of what growers can do in their orchard to promote bee activity while keeping bees safe.
Field Guide for Spray Operators
Providing a safe environment for honey bees to forage and maximising the number of almond flowers pollinated requires careful use of pesticides. Here is a summary of what you can do to keep bees safe when using pesticides in almond orchards:
Best Practice - Grower Survey
This survey covers various aspects of your farming environment for honey bees during the pollination season. By completing this survey, you will be contributing towards developing a better understanding of our industry’s practices in relation to bee management and effective pollination practices.
Honey Bee Biosecurity Code of Practice
The Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice (the Code) has been developed in consultation with beekeepers and governments to provide a clear framework for Australian beekeepers to engage in best-practice biosecurity.
As almond growers, we all know that bees are needed to pollinate our trees so that we can get a crop. If the pollination is reduced due to adverse weather conditions or the poor synchronisation between varieties is reduced, low yields can result. But why is this? What is the biology involved in an almond tree that requires bees and multiple varieties in order to get a crop?
Better Almond Pollination
Good pollination provides the foundation for good yield, so it is important to ensure that honeybee hives are provided in the most effective manner. Saul Cunningham’s research focused on the influence of pollination strategy on bee activity (which drives pollination) and the flower to fruit conversion ratio (which is strongly influenced by pollination).
Flowering Observation Tool
The Australian Almonds Flowering Tool is designed for long-term record keeping of flowering seasons. The tool reports flowering synchronisation by block, based on yearly inputs of data on up to three different observation points. The summary table can then be manipulated to include the desired years that you wish to average out.
Interactive Flowering Graph
The Australian Almonds Flowering Synchronisation tool was created for Australian growers to be able to compare numerous combinations of varieties that are currently being grown in our industry. The observations took place at Lindsay Point, South Australia and have been monitored by the Almond Board of Australia and Lacton Pty Ltd farm staff. The information in the graph is based on Nonpareil’s start of bloom, full bloom and end of bloom dates. The remaining varieties use the average differences against Nonpareil to determine flowering synchronisation.
Publications for Purchase
AgGuide: Pollination Using Honey Bees
Beekeepers and growers of horticultural crops, broadacre crops and pastures all benefit from bees visiting flowers. this book informs the beekeeper about preparing and maintaining bees so that they are fit for the pollination task and informs the grower about creating an environment for best results. It describes the specific bee stocking rate required for more than sixty plant species and includes a section on making a business agreement between grower and beekeeper.
Learn about preparing and maintaining bees so that they are fit for the pollination task. This book describes bee stocking rate required for more than sixty plant species.
Honey and Pollen Flora of South-eastern Australia
This publication focuses on the value of plants to nectarivores, and honey bees in particular. The result of over 30 years of research, it distills both scientific knowledge and the opinions of hundreds of beekeepers into a reference work that will be the cornerstone of floral understanding in apiculture for years to come.
Australian Honey Bee Best Management Practice Part 1
Hear from South Australian bee keeper, Ian Zadow and Select Harvests, Michael Ward discuss best practice management for almond pollination. There are four key pollination topics throughout the video including, timing of hive introduction and removal, hive stocking rates, hive health and inspections and finally managing bees when they’re in the orchard.
Australian Honey Bee Best Management Practice Part 2
Hear from Victoria’s bee biosecurity officer Ally Driessen talk about the Bee Biosecurity Code of Practice, whats involved in a biosecurity inspection and what growers can do to help uphold strict biosecurity measures throughout almond pollination.