Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, welcomed the development of a new website designed to help crop producers get the full benefit from honey bee pollination. The BeeAware site is one of the tools Plant Health Australia has developed to protect honey bees through promoting the increased yield honey bee pollination provides crops.
“BeeAware lets farmers know what level of bee activity their crops need. For instance, hives are essential for almond production, while avocados need about four hives per hectare to achieve optimum results,” Minister Joyce said.
“It’s easy to take for granted pollination provided by honey bees because we currently have good numbers of healthy bees.
“One of our greatest protections is our farmers’ observations. There are many countries now where pollination in horticulture is not the natural state of affairs.
“However, exotic pests pose a constant threat. Producers in countries overseas know that some pests of honey bees, such as the varroa mite, can reduce the honey bee population dramatically, and with it crop yields.
“In February I launched a statement of research and development priorities for the honeybee and cropping industries. It is good to see two of those priority themes reflected through the information on the website.
“For beekeepers, there is information about established and exotic bee pests and advice on how to keep honey bees healthy.
“For farmers, there is information on the many different crops that benefit from honeybee pollination, together with management techniques on how best to employ honeybee hives.
“The BeeAware website is an excellent example of what can be achieved through industry-government partnership.”
Contributors to the project include the Australian Government, the honey bee industry and pollinator-reliant industries, through the Pollination Program, managed by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and Horticulture Australia Limited.
Visit the BeeAware website at www.beeaware.org.au
Posted 10 July 2014