Research trials in Western Australia are looking at the potential for native flies to pollinate crops, as part of a national project to future-proof horticulture production.
Pollination is vital to the success of many fruit and vegetable crops, with pollination-dependant crops in Australia worth almost $6 billion per year.
While bees are the most widely-used and well-known pollinators for crops, a range of insects are natural crop pollinators.
The McGowan Government is investing $836,000 towards the five-year national research project examining the use of different insect pollinators to complement the use of bees.
The research is led by Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development scientists, with support from major funder Hort Innovation and in conjunction with a range of research partners.
Two species of native flies have this week been released into netted enclosures on an avocado orchard in the State’s South-West to coincide with flowering to examine the influence of flies on production.
As stated by Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“This is an exciting project looking for new insect pollinators to back up our honey bees.
“Our research will target native fly species to see if they are effective pollinators for commercial crops, with the WA trials targeting avocados and later expanding to berries.
“The research team has extensive entomological experience, specifically in the field of insect pollination of crops and vegetable seed production and native flies.
“Our Government’s commitment to agricultural research and development is paying off, with national funding partners embracing Western Australia as a place to invest.
“This project is a fantastic national collaboration, with department researchers, the horticulture industry, universities and the private sector sharing their knowledge on innovative ways to benefit our fruit and vegetable industries.”
Minister’s office – 6552 6200