University of Tasmania

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Increasing Seed Yield in Poppies

posted on 2023-05-25, 02:48 authored by Merry, AM, Stephen CorkreyStephen Corkrey, Westmore, GC, Geoffrey DeanGeoffrey Dean
The object of this study was to establish the relationship between a gradient of honey bees, Apis mellifera and seed yield of poppy, Papaver somniferum L. Three beehives were grouped in the centre of three commercial poppy fields and an additional three fields were chosen that had no hives as controls. Plots were established in a spiral design every 5 m from 10 m to 140 m radius from the centre, thus having plots ranging over distance from a higher density to a lower density of bees pollinating the flowers at treatment sites. There were significantly more seeds per capsule for three of capsule size classes; large, >25 mm, medium, 15-25 mm and small <15 mm at the sites with beehives compared to the control. In addition for the large capsules there was a significant radial effect at the bee sites, with more seeds per capsule closer to the hive than further away, there was no radial effect for the control. For the medium sized capsules there was the same trend for the sites with beehives and the inverse occurred at the control sites. This indicated that native pollinating insects were potentially coming in from the crop edge and increasing seed per capsule closer to the edge compared to towards the centre of the crop. Insect pollinations were also monitored using pan traps at set distances from the centre of the crop at each site. There were significantly more potential pollinators captured at the edge of the crop than at any other distance from the centre of the field.


Commissioning body

Tasmanian Alkaloids Pty Ltd


Final ROCU Ref 2724




Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


Tasmanian Alkaloids Pty Ltd

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