Better pollinate seed production plots

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For several years, the seed and beekeeping sectors have been working to strengthen relations between their two businesses. The latest tool is Beewapi.com, a promising trading platform.

Beekeeping and agriculture flourish

Bees are crucial for the production of oilseeds (rapeseed, sunflower, etc.), particularly in seed multiplication , where the quality and quantity of the seeds are essential. Pollinating insects participate in the fertilization of these plants, that is to say, the transfer of pollen from male plants to female plants. Beekeeping and the multiplication of oilseeds are closely linked since pollination by bees ensures reproduction and seed formation. The agricultural profession was very early aware of the importance of the role played by honey bees in the pollination of rapeseed and sunflower seeds.

Work well and together

Beekeeper-pollinator and oilseed- seed multiplier trades each require a high degree of sophistication. The former are concentrated on bee colonies, which must be of good quality and “ready” at the beginning of flowering. The latter must ensure that the flowering stages are simultaneous between two lineson the same plot, in order to optimize future seed production. Together, they must be particularly vigilant on these main points: the number of colonies per hectare of culture, the disposition of the hives in the plots, the schedule of contribution and withdrawal of the colonies, the conduct of the culture concerning all the operations likely to affect bees and pollination (treatments, irrigation, etc.). These elements are at the base of the rental rate of the colonies and the signing of a possible pollination contract.

A meeting site between beekeepers and seed producers

Pollination by bees is one of many agricultural products success factors, particularly the multiplication of seed oil. Farmers want their pollination needs to be covered by a supply of quality hives. Beekeepers want to know early on the hive needs of farmers to prepare colonies. To facilitate the meeting between supply and demand, professional seed organizations (National Seed and Seed Association), National Association of Oil Seed Multiplier Farmers, and Union Française des Semenciers) in partnership with the ITSAP (Bee Institute) have developed, among other actions, a computer platform for direct contact between beekeepers -pollinizers and farmers-multipliers . According to a survey conducted in 2010 by Gnis, more than two-thirds of the multipliers and beekeepers surveyed were interested in this tool. Sources: ANAMSO, Bee Institute, Beewapi.com, “Bees & Pollination in oilseed production” symposium at Mercurol in November 2011.

Two complementary streams whose constraints may be contradictory

Farmers are subject to constraints that can impact the beekeeping industry and the preservation of insect populations, especially wild and domestic bees. Insufficient chemical protection of crops (insecticides) could affect bees. Bringing together the two businesses makes it possible to better understand the constraints and expectations of each, to think collectively about solutions.

Bees and pollination

Pollinating insects, especially wild bees (2,500 species of bees in Europe and 20,000 in the world) and the honey bee Apis mellifera are known for their essential participation in the pollination of certain plants, so-called “entomophiles”. More than 70% of crops (fruit, vegetables , oilseeds, protein crops, etc., or 35% of our food tonnage) depend on an animal pollination. Pollinators are species whose presence and diversity are essential to maintaining the richness of our ecosystems. Pollinating insects belong to four classes: Hymenoptera (including bees), Diptera, Coleoptera and Lepidoptera.

Are all plants pollinated?

Pollination is the mode of sexual reproduction of seed plants. These include both angiosperms (flowering plants), for which the seed is wrapped in the fruit (tomato, rose, carrot, rapeseed …) and gymnosperms, whose seeds are “naked” (spruce). , ginkgo biloba…). Angiosperms account for 70% of the known plants in the world. Most gymnosperms are pollinated by the wind, while angiosperms are predominantly animals (mainly insects).

Dr. Kimberly Seltzer

Postdoctoral Scholar, UC Berkeley Research Assistant, MIT

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