Avocado growers are invited to attend a free webinar on avocado pollination that is taking place on Wednesday August 12. The webinar is being hosted by South West Catchments Council (SWCC) and will detail the projects SWCC and its’ partners are currently undertaking.
“There’s lots of work going on in this space right now and we thought avocado producers would be keen to hear about it given the complex nature of pollination in avocados and the threat to the much relied upon honeybees worldwide,” said Wendy Wilkins, SWCC Project Manager.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s (DPIRD) Dr David Cook will discuss the project ’Managing Flies for Crop Pollination’ which is a five-year national collaborative project between Horticulture Innovation Australia, DPIRD, the private sector and universities. Dr Cook is the Project Leader and will discuss his work in avocado orchards. David has also carried out research on flies as pollinators of key horticultural crops and is a specialist in calliphorid flies, hover flies and other regular flower-visiting fly species.
“Flies are an obvious choice as an alternative pollinator to honeybees. They are present all year round, visit flowers for nectar (sugar), are hairy so can pick up and move pollen and can be mass-reared with minimal inputs,” Dr Cook said.
SWCC has two projects looking at pollination in avocados, both funded under the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.
One is looking at revegetation on farms using a mix of species that provide continuous food and shelter for pollinators, particularly insects, to improve yields.
The other project will identify key pollinators in avocado orchards in the South West region of WA and develop and disseminate information about management practices to enhance numbers of pollinators in the orchards. It will use innovative environmental DNA (eDNA) biodiversity assessment techniques to identify insect pollinators, the extent to which they pollinate avocado flowers and whether they pollinate effectively across the whole orchard.
“We are also keen to hear from the avocado industry at this event on what they need to know. We’ll be hosting break-out sessions to get feedback from the participants and for them to share their thoughts with us.” Ms Wilkins concluded.
The webinar is being held on August 12 between 1pm and 2.30pm (AWST). Registrations are essential. Contact Wendy at [email protected] or 0448 339 307.This webinar is supported by the South West Catchments Council through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.