The 2B mechanical pollination unit, produced by Israeli start-up Edete.

How viable is mechanical pollination?

Pollen collection, not just distribution, is a major hurdle for those trying to help insects

Reading Time: 4 minutes An Israeli start-up company has developed a mechanical pollination system that it says will help ensure the continued production of nutritious food. There is concern about the decline of pollinators and its effects on food production. Pollinators play a critical role in moving pollen from male to female parts of the plant that result in […] Read more

CBOT September 2020 wheat with 20-, 50- and 100-day moving averages. (Barchart)

U.S. grains: Wheat futures top two-month high on global harvest worries

Corn, soybeans firm as U.S. weather looks hotter, drier

Reading Time: 2 minutes Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures on Thursday leapt to their highest prices in more than two months as the latest crop estimates in major exporting countries like Argentina, France and Russia raised questions about global supply. Corn and soybean futures also strengthened, as weather forecasts predicted more heat and dryness […] Read more

Mike Donnelly-Vanderloo, right, explains the family’s Operation Pollinator plot to tour participants on July 3 near Thorndale.

Pollinator plots open eyes and create conversations

Sixty plots will be established at the edges of farms after two years of the program

Reading Time: 4 minutes Across Ontario’s farm country over the past two years, small patches of fields have been transformed into a mix of flowering plants ideal for attracting bees and other insects and birds, as part of Operation Pollinator. There’s no confirmation on whether the global agricultural input company that created and supported the project, Syngenta, will continue […] Read more

A bumblebee on a strawberry flower.

Bee-based disease prevention

Inoculating flowering plants with insect-delivered fungus can help limit disease

Reading Time: 4 minutes Fungi that can inoculate crops against disease can be applied using insects — bumblebees, to be specific. According to Bee Vectoring Technology (BVT) — a Canadian company with offices in the United States and Europe, and in the process of commercializing such a service — Bombus-delivered inoculants offer fruit farmers another way to augment their […] Read more

A corn crop in the RM of St. Andrews in Manitoba’s Interlake region on July 5, 2018. (Greg Berg photo)

Ontario, Manitoba corn crops need rain

Reading Time: 3 minutes CNS Canada — Corn development in key growing areas of Ontario and Manitoba remains highly variable as the crop nears its yield-determining phase. “The pollination stage is the critical part of the corn-growing period and I would say probably within the next three weeks we will know what yield is going to look like,” said […] Read more

The red-belted bumblebee, shown here visiting a lupine, is among the species shown to be “responding very badly” to climate changes across continents. (Jeremy Kerr photo)

Study of bumblebee decline points to climate ‘vise’

Reading Time: 4 minutes A study of the shrinking range of bumblebee habitat suggests farmers relying on those species to pollinate crops may soon have to look elsewhere, barring a reversal of climate change — or, perhaps, an “assisted migration.” An international study of specimens from 31 species of bumblebees in North America and 36 such species in Europe, as […] Read more

(Photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Pesticides could lead to ‘pollination deficit,’ EU report says

Reading Time: 2 minutes Brussels | Reuters –– Evidence is mounting that widely-used pesticides harm moths, butterflies and birds as well as bees, adding to concerns crop production could be hit by a shortage of pollinators, according to a report drawn up for EU policymakers. The European Commission, the EU executive, placed restrictions on three neonicotinoid pesticides from Dec. […] Read more