When considering the pollination of their crops, Farmers constantly face a large number of risks and uncertainties, such as inadequate number of bees and other pollinators, or lack of sufficient chill hours or other weather caused pollination risks. The reason is simple.
Pollination sets the upper limit of crop production.
Faced with these risks, farmers are always searching for ways to gain more control over pollination and the pollination of their crops, thus increasing food security and often increasing crop yield. Yet, there is still one major force farmers cannot control: the weather. American farmers have traditionally relied on the excellent forecasting provided by the Farmers’ Almanac. Other such resources exist around the globe. However, with some the early effects of global warming being seen, the impact of weather and weather events on agriculture is likely to grow over the coming decades.
Risks from the Weather
Here are a few of the ways weather can negatively impact the pollination process.
A very large percentage (roughly ⅓) of all food eaten worldwide depends on bees and other insects for pollination. Bees in China and around the world have been dying off at alarming rates. One major cause of this rapid decline in bees is called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Parts of China have experienced this challenge to food security caused by the decline in bee population and other insect pollinators.
Weather has a direct effect on when and how insect pollinators are active. Factors include heat, humidity and wind. Even localized micro-climates can have an effect on the work done by these pollinators.
Each variety of stone fruits, such as cherries, peaches, plums, etc., require a certain number of chill hours before pollination season. If the weather does not provide adequate chill hours in the months before blooming, the male portion of the flower which is the pollen, does not develop properly. This often limits pollination, at times severely. Our technology solves most of these kinds of problems.
Many crops must be cross-pollinated.
With cherries, for cross-pollination to successfully occur a bee must bring pollen from a cherry blossom of a different variety cherry to each flower. Until now, to cross-pollinate their crops, farmers have had to plant an adequate ratio of more than one variety of cherries in the same field so that bees can mix the pollen as needed. However, if weather patterns cause one variety of cherry to bloom too soon or too late compared to the other varieties, bees cannot cross-pollinate the crop because an adequate number of blooms from other varieties are not open at the same time long enough for the bees to cross-pollinate. Thus a pollination gap occurs.
Pollineering uses proven, patent-pending mechanical pollination technology to optimize pollination and mitigate pollination risks. Our technology increases food security and can optimize pollination to increase many crop yields with or without bees and in spite of many adverse weather conditions.
We do not need viable in-field pollen, nor do we need a variety of concurrently open blossoms in order to cross-pollinate. In fact, with our technology, for the first time in history farmers will be able to choose, if they wish, to plant only one variety of a crop, thus saving significant costs and improving land utilization.
Our patent-pending electrostatic spray process for mechanical pollination reduces risk to farmers and improves their crop yields and profits and is adaptable to many crop types. We are currently in production for a number of stone fruit and other types of orchards including almonds, cherries, pistachios, peaches, apricots, plums and kiwi. Apples and pears will be next, with more crop types soon to follow.
We give farmers control for optimizing crop pollination, with or without bees and other pollination approaches. The primary benefits to farmers are:
- Crop yield increases due to optimized pollination. Thus far our average crop yield has been in the range of 10% to 15%. This can be a very significant crop yield and production increase.
- Risk mitigation and increased food security due to optimizing pollination with or without bees and when the weather or other factors disrupt or harm the natural pollination cycle.
- Other major benefits of this technology include reduced production costs and reduced risks.