GUELPH, ON, Jan. 30, 2014 /CNW/ - Syngenta Canada Inc. and Dalhousie
University, together with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research
Council of Canada, are partnering on an innovative research project to
increase bee populations and blueberry yields in the Maritime
Canada is the world's largest producer of wild blueberries and most are
grown in Quebec and in the Atlantic provinces. They are important
economically and are part of our cultural identity.
"An increase in the demand for blueberries has resulted in the expansion
of blueberry operations. Bee populations have not, however, increased
in tandem," says Dr. Paul Hoekstra, Stewardship Manager with Syngenta
Canada Inc. Bees and blueberries are an important combination and over
the past two years declines in blueberry yields have caused concerns.
"An inadequate supply of bees required to pollinate a healthy blueberry
crop has been identified as an important problem," says Dr. Chris
Cutler, Associate Professor, Dalhousie University, Faculty of
Agriculture. "This research project hopes to address a couple of the
factors that may be part of the problem - nesting habitat limitations
and a lack of food resources."
The research will involve planting of bee-attractive forage plants and
creation of bee nesting sites. Impacts of these habitat amendments on
bee populations and blueberry pollination will be analyzed over two
"We're planting annual buckwheat, which is particularly attractive to
bees, along the edge of blueberry fields," explains researcher Robyn
McCallum. "We're also examining the use of nesting blocks that can be
used by certain cavity nesting bees, and how nesting block design,
placement, and management affects the number of bees in a field and, as
a result, pollination rates." Originally from Tabusintac, New
Brunswick, the Dalhousie Master of Science student is hopeful that the
blueberry sector will benefit from her research. "We think the research
will demonstrate the benefits of these practical methods to boost
native bee populations."
Syngenta Canada is supporting the research through their Operation
Pollinator™ program. The program includes support for research and
other initiatives that contribute to enhanced biodiversity and habitat
in support of healthy pollinator populations.
"Increasing numbers of natural pollinators has been shown to increase
yield and quality in key agricultural crops," says Dr. Hoekstra. "We
are pleased to support Robyn's research and we look forward to seeing
the results of this work," adds Hoekstra, noting that, "at least one
third of the human food supply from crops and plants depends on insect
pollination, most of which is done by bees. So, we all have a shared
interest in bee health."
About Dalhousie University
Dalhousie University is one of Canada's leading research-intensive
universities, attracting more than $140 million in research grants and
awards each year. Many Dalhousie researchers are nationally and
internationally recognized for their work, whether it's
ground-breaking, thought-provoking or solving real-world issues.
Dalhousie is also a member of the U15, a group of 15 Canadian
research-intensive universities that bring together distinguished minds
to bear on the most profound challenges our nation and our world face.
About the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
NSERC is a federal agency that helps make Canada a country of
discoverers and innovators for all Canadians. The agency supports
30,000 post-secondary students and postdoctoral fellows in their
advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding approximately
12,000 professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging
about 2,400 Canadian companies to participate and invest in
post-secondary research projects.
About Operation Pollinator
Operation Pollinator is a Syngenta program focused on research and
partnerships to promote the health and well-being of bees and other
pollinators given their essential role in agriculture and nature. The
program's mandate is to support activities that enhance biodiversity,
habitat and other practical initiatives that contribute to healthy
pollinator populations. The program originated in the United Kingdom
and has since been expanded to more than 13 countries around the world.
It includes both on-farm and off-farm components.
Syngenta is one of the world's leading companies with more than 27,000
employees in over 90 countries dedicated to our purpose: Bringing plant
potential to life. Through world-class science, global reach and
commitment to customers, we help to increase crop productivity, protect
the environment and improve health and quality of life. For more
information about Syngenta please visit www.syngenta.com.
Always read and follow label directions.
Operation Pollinator™ and the Syngenta logo are trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company. ©
2014 Syngenta. All rights reserved.
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SOURCE: Syngenta Canada Inc.
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Tel: (519) 837-5328