A new Operation Pollinator research project, funded by Syngenta, will address the role of pollinating insects in oilseed rape crops, and the potential to increase yields or quality through crop pollination services.

Further research was required to provide greater understanding of insect pollination in oilseed rape crops, said Geoff Coates (pictured), the project manager for Syngenta. “The project aims to find how this process might be enhanced using wild pollinators, as well as managed honey bees.

“This will build on the practical knowledge base of Operation Pollinator in the creation and management of pollinator habitat on commercial farmland.”

Studies had shown that insect pollination could increase both seed yield and quality in oilseed rape, said Gary Jobling, Syngenta’s crop protection product manager. “There is also evidence from studies in France that efficient pollination could increase the evenness of pod set, which would improve canopy structure for crop management.”

The project will monitor pollinator activity in detail on some of the 40 farms involved in the project, which is being co-ordinated by Richard Pywell, of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, as well as yields, oil content, seed and pod numbers in oilseed rape crops.


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