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 honeybees (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 honeybee health.
Almond grower levy’s, together with commonwealth government funding through Hort Innovation and the Hort Frontiers Pollination Fund, support projects that improve knowledge about 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.
The ABA pollination committee has guided the development of a series of publications to actively promote honeybee 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 honeybee best management practices guidelines for Australian almond pollination stakeholders.