NZFarmer : December 16th 2009
21 Straight Furrow • December 15, 2009 RuralSouth SOUTH Island arable farmers could be putting their busi- nesses at risk if they rely on free honey bee pollination from now on. Plant and Food bee scientist Mark Goodwin told farmers at the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) field day in Mid Canterbury that because of varroa, bees could not sur vive without humans any- more. "Free pollination from feral bees is going to disappear, and there's also likely to be a decrease in the number of managed colonies. If you're not putting managed colonies into fields, you need to think about doing so." Dr Goodwin was awarded the FAR Researcher of the Year Award at the field day. In October he was awarded a New Zealand Science and Technology medal for his work on honey bees and crop pol- lination practices. Varroa has reached as far as Tinwald, south of Ashburton, but in reality it is probably well beyond that. This autumn will be the first time many Canterbury beekeepers will have treated hives for varroa. South Island farmers have far less experience of using managed hives for pollination than farmers and horticulturalists in the North Island. The biggest use in Canterbury will be for pollinating specialist seed crops Dr Goodwin said farmers had to make sure they were getting the quality they were paying for. "What does quality look like? Basically the number of bees in the hive and the number of larvae. The more, the better the hive will be for pollination." He said the worst he had seen had just a handful of bees and the best four boxes full of bees. "Unfortunately the price was about the same." Farmers needed to specify to beekeepers exactly what they needed. Hives could be audited to make sure they were up to stan- dard. "You need to make sure it's working well for you." Timing of hive introduction to the crop was important. "We always recommend you don't bring them into the crop before it has started flowering. They may fly off and find another source of food." Dr Goodwin recommended split introduction of hives if there were a lot of competing flowers in the area, introducing half at the start of flowering and half in the middle of flowering to replace bees that had taken off to food sources else- where. He warned farmers to be careful with their use of sprays. "Insecticides are pretty OK if you follow the instructions. Fungicides are more of an issue. It was always assumed they didn't affect bees, but they have been shown to have an effect on brood. Fungicides can also have a negative effect on flow- ering." Spraying bees with water when the weather was cold could kill them, and soaps and surfactants added to help spread sprays could also kill bees. "It's best you don't spray when bees are active, and read the label. If you need to use a fungicide, use it, but preferably later in the day." 'Don't count on free pollination' FAR researcher Dr Mark Goodwin talks to farmers at a recent field day in Mid Canterbury. By HOWARD KEENE ASOUTHLAND man who invent- ed an effortless solution for applying effluent and at the same time reduced the risk of leach- ing, believes his recent award affirms the product's worth to the dairy industry. Lindsay Lewis of Invercargill received awards for the Clean Green Effluent System at the Agricultural Field Days at Waimumu, Lincoln and Mystery Creek. He was also recog- nized at the Environment Southland Awards. Mr Lewis said it had confirmed his view that the system could meet the needs of dairy farmers nationwide. "In any high-risk area this system is a must," Mr Lewis said. Mr Lewis created the Clean Green Effluent System for a friend who had a wishlist for the system, which included the capacity to be environ- mentally friendly, took less man hours to operate and used materials with similarities to that of the portable irrigators to spray stock effluent. The result was a system that uses water pressure and timers to stop the flow of effluent from a paddock and redirect to another before it becomes saturated. This environmentally friendly solu- tion particularly provides for farm- ers whose farm land has a tendency towards saturated soil. Effluent is applied at a rate of half a millimetre over 24 hours, ensuring that all effluent stays in the root base and the pasture's root system is given sufficient nutrients. The Clean Green Effluent System has a unique specially designed non- drip valve fitted in the K-Line pod. This eliminates pipeline drainage onto lower areas such as gullies and hollows once the pump has shut down. Although Environment Councils have policies requiring 60 to 90-day storage ponds, Lindsay's system offering concrete separation ponds and plastic storage tanks takes up lit- tle room and offers a whole 12 months solids storage with no 60 or 90-day storage ponds required. Invermay Agricultural Centre senior soil scientist Dr Ross Monaghan said for farmers with land on sloping topography or with mole- tile drainage systems, the Clean Green Effluent System could be a useful tool. Dr Monaghan said staff were study- ing the system in a controlled envi- ronment on a test plot in West Otago. Water draining from the plot was tested. "We observed considerable filtra- tion of potential effluent contami- nants when the effluent was applied to our mole-pipe drained Kelso site using a low depth (0.6mm per day) approach." He said compared to a single appli- cation (9mm of effluent applied on August 21, 2008), loads in mole-pipe drainage induced by daily application were reduced by: 75 per cent for dissolved reactive P, 92 per cent for Total P, 94 per cent for ammonium N, 75 per cent for total solids and 99 per cent for E.coli bacteria. Farmers should seriously think about putting managed colonies in the fields, says Dr Goodwin. New effluent system a winner, says inventor The Clean Green Effluent System eliminates pipeline drainage onto lower areas.
December 9th 2009