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NATIONAL CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES / Monday, 25 September 2023
Connecting the almond industry with Plan Bee
Plan Bee and the importance of honey bee genetic improvement to the productivity and value of the pollination-dependent almond industry were showcased to a broad range of stakeholders at a two-day almond conference in Victoria.
NSW DPI Plan Bee Technical Officer, Emily Noordyke, presented a new Plan Bee poster at the Almond Board of Australia 2023 Research & Development Forum at Robinvale, sparking conversations with forum attendees about the program.
Ms Noordyke’s attendance at the forum and the poster’s launch comes at a critical time for the almond industry, given recent challenges with Varroa destructor breaching Australian shores.
“The poster is a broad overview of the Plan Bee program and our overall goal of improving the queen breeding industry, but also how it will help pollination security,” Ms Noordyke said.
Australia’s agriculture sector has a goal of becoming a $100b industry by 2030 and the honey bee and pollination industry has a crucial and underpinning role in achieving that goal.
“Bee breeding is important to almond growers. The almond industry is invested in bee health and half of the conference program was bee related.
“It was an invaluable opportunity to catch up with members of the Almond Board of Australia, almond growers, representatives from hive sensor technology companies, Hort Innovation, and pollination researchers from Plant and Food Research Australia. I also spent time with bee brokers from Monson’s Honey and Pollination.”
Plan Bee update
Modern bee breeding technologies play an important role in improving honey bee performance, the productivity of pollination dependant industries, and food security.
The event provided an opportunity to discuss the role of Plan bee in supporting the adoption of best practice breeding techniques based on the research outcomes of the project.
“While the conversations about Plan Bee with almond industry members were typically introductory, I also updated the researchers and beekeepers who were already familiar with Plan Bee on the current status of our projects,” Ms Noordyke said.
“It was great to learn more about the aspects of almond growing and processing.
“Almond pollination is a huge deal for beekeepers, so it was enlightening to hear about the current challenges that the almond industry faces.
“One highlight was touring some almond orchards and seeing demonstrations of some of the innovative technologies that they’re implementing.”
Plan Bee’s poster was among a number of posters displayed throughout the forum, with Ms Noordyke available throughout the two-day event to answer any questions from forum delegates.
The forum included presentations by researchers and growers where innovations have contributed toward addressing various aspects of almond production.
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