Pollination is the key to a great kiwifruit crop and with this season coming to close it’s time for growers to get set for spring.
The better pollinated a flower is the more seeds it has, the heavier and better shaped the fruit is.
Trials with PollenSmart dry pollen applicator have shown that multiple applications at a light rate achieve the best results and can give near ‘perfect pollination’. The pollen then also draws bees to the kiwifruit who further distribute it to the female flowers. Ideally then this should be done early morning on a sunny day when the bees are most active.
Orchardist David Horwood wanted his own pollen applicator rather than rely on a contractor to turn up at the optimum time when everyone else was also vying to get their orchards done. It wasn’t something he could afford to leave out of his control.
The other issue was the cost of pollen. He approached Wilco Klein Ovink of The Wrangler and asked him to make him one that not only put pollen up, but puffed it to the canopy multiple times to increase the chance of pollination four fold, and then to catch and recycle back and reuse and much of the pollen not on flowers.
He says the invention worked brilliantly, giving record Orchard Gate Returns to growers, and going on to win the illustrious Fieldays Innovation Award for 2016.
Not only did it give large fruit, frequent pollination meant each flower was pollinated at the perfect time leading to uniform size and therefore lower thinning costs and labour.
PollenSmart is produced in Whakatane by The Wrangler Ltd. It will be on display at Fieldays site G73-75 and orders are being taken now for spring.