IPI Crops: News


Sustainable Pollination Services for UK Crops



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Contents

2013
8 July 2013: Apples developing on experimental trees
6 July 2013: Filming for BBC Horizon
4 July 2013: Bean surveys completed
May 2013: Oil seed fieldwork ongoing in Leeds
22 & 30 May 2013: Bumblebees arrive in field bean sites
13-16 May 2013: Apple surveys
25 April 2013: Apple fieldwork starts
29 January 2013: New field season starts
2012
18-20 December 2012: Findings from project presented at the British Ecological Society annual meeting
28 November 2012: Prof. Potts invited as expert witness for Environmental Audit Committee
14 November 2012: Team visits IPI grant holder workshop in York to present findings from project so far.
7 September 2012: Cox and Gala apple collection
29 July 2012: Findings from project presented at the BWARS annual meeting
18 July 2012: Bees, Butterflies and Blooms
30 June 2012: Pollinator exhibition at Oxford University Museum of Natural History
26 June 2012: Talk at Waitrose Grower Conference
19 June 2012: NERC Planet Earth Online Podcast on crop pollination
2 May 2012: Reading team fieldwork begins with visits to apple orchards in Kent for hand pollination
30 April 2012: Pollinator surveys on OSR in Yorkshire begin
2011
16 August 2011: Last of 2011 fieldwork complete

Apples developing on experimental trees
8 July 2013

Apples on experimental trees are developing nicely. They are being watered regularly to keep the compost damp and allow the fruits to swell in the lovely weather that has suddenly developed.

 

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Filming for BBC Horizon
6 July 2013

The BBC have been to the university farm at Sonning today to film the Crops project team for part of an episode of Horizon. Professor Simon Potts explains about the importance of pollinators and shows how a lack of them could affect our strawberry crops.

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Bean surveys completed
4 July 2013

The final survey has now been completed on the last of the spring bean sites. Two rounds of surveys have been done at each of the 7 winter bean and 3 spring bean sites. In addition to surveying for pollinators, three different plants were marked up at each survey location, and then one bagged to exclude pollinators, another hand pollinated, and the final one left open for the pollinating insects to access the flowers.

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Oil seed fieldwork ongoing in Leeds
May 2013

Cropwatch and transect surveys have been taking place in the oilseed rape fields around Leeds. The photos show a field in full flower, and taking weather readings to show temperature, humidity and windspeed.

 

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Bumblebees arrive in field bean sites
22 & 30 May 2013

Bumblebee boxes have been placed out in the 7 winter bean and 3 spring bean sites. Each site has four Bombus terrestris audax colonies placed along one side of the experimental site, protected from the weather by colourful rain shelters. The sites are across the counties of Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Hampshire.

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Apple surveys
13-16 May 2013

Apple surveys are in full swing this week, with cropwatches and transects being done across 7 sites on Monday 13th, and a further 8 on Thursday 16th. The pictures show the concentration in watching a whole tree for any visiting pollinators during a 10 minute period, and walking a 50m transect trying to catch and identify any species along the route. The weather hasn't been ideal, with temperatures ranging from 13-17C, cloud cover from 40-100%, and windspeeds of 1-9mph, all within the space of a single day! However, we still managed to spot a reasonable number of bumblebees, solitary bees and hoverflies during the surveys. The final picture shows an Andrena haemorrhoa, one of several individuals of that species identified on the surveys.

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Apple fieldwork starts
25 April 2013

The 2013 apple orchard fieldwork has started with a trip to Kent to place pollinator-exclusion bags on budding apple blossoms. Some of these blossoms will be hand pollinated in the next few weeks, whilst others will remain unpollinated. We had a long day, with over 500 bags in total being added to 210 apple trees. This year we are working on Bramley, Braeburn and Gala varieties.

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New field season starts
29 January 2013

The 2013 field season has begun with the first sowing of oilseed rape and field bean seeds ready for this year's experiments. 100 pots were planted up for each crop and left for germination in the glasshouse.

 

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Findings from project presented at the British Ecological Society annual meeting
18-20 December 2012

Dr Mike Garratt presented the latest findings on the role of Insect Diversity in Crop Pollination at the British Ecological Society annual meeting in Birmingham. This included results from both field-site experiments and experimental flight cages on strawberries, oilseed rape, apples and field beans.

 

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Prof. Potts invited as expert witness for Environmental Audit Committee
28 November 2012

Prof. Simon Potts was invited as an expert witness to the UK government Environmental Audit Committee inquiry into “Insects and Insecticides”. He presented both written and oral evidence to the Committee relating to the economic risks for UK crop pollination. Further information can be found on the Commons Select Committee page.

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Team visits IPI grant holder workshop in York to present findings from project so far
14 November 2012

The Crops team visits the IPI grant holder workshop in York to present current findings from the project to other IPI research teams and share findings. It was also an opportunity to update funders and stakeholders with progress.

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Cox and Gala apple collection
7 September 2012

Experimental apples have been collected from the Cox and Gala apple orchards in Kent. Their quality is being tested in several different ways to look for differences between hand-pollinated, insect pollinated and pollinator exclusion treatments in order to see how each variety responds to different levels of pollinator activity.

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Findings from project presented at the BWARS annual meeting
29 July 2012

Findings from the project were presented at the BWARS annual meeting at Cardiff Natural History Museum. Members were particularly interested to hear about any rare insects found during the crop pollinator surveys.

 

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Bees, Butterflies and Blooms
18 July 2012

Professor Simon Potts appeared on BBC2’s documentary “Bees, Butterflies and Blooms” which explored how the way we manage our landscape affects our pollinators and the services they provide. Further information can be found here on the BBC Website.

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Pollinator exhibition at Oxford University Museum of Natural History
30 June 2012

Duncan Coston and colleagues set up a pollinator exhibition Oxford University’s Museum of Natural History as part of National Insect week. Further information can be found on the National Insect Week website.

 

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Talk at Waitrose Grower Conference
26 June 2012

Dr Mike Garratt gave a talk at the Waitrose Grower Conference in Kent on the subject of “Insect Pollination of UK Apples: Research quality and sustainability”. The growers were very interested to hear about pollinators in their orchards, and how best to manage them to improve pollination.

 

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NERC Planet Earth Online Podcast on crop pollination
19 June 2012

Prof. Simon Potts and Duncan Coston contributed to a NERC Planet Earth Online Podcast on crop pollination. Further information can be found on Planet Earth Online.

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Reading team fieldwork begins with visits to apple orchards in Kent for hand pollination
2 May 2012

With the first warm weather of the year, Reading fieldworkers have made the trip to Kent to start on this year's apple pollination experiments to establish the impact of apple pollinators on apple quality.

 

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Pollinator surveys on OSR in Yorkshire begin
30 April 2012

The field teams have begun to do pollinator survey work on the oilseed rape fields near Leeds and York. This involves actively looking for pollinators, catching them in handnets, and setting out pantraps across the sites spread around the Yorkshire farmland. Teams had already been out earlier in the month to prepare the sites and plan where the surveys would take place in each field.

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Last of 2011 fieldwork complete
16 August 2011

The final day of fieldwork for the 2011 season has finished today with the last of the field beans gathered in from the Berkshire sites before farmers started collecting in the harvest.

 

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