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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Research Project: Promoting Pollinators and Other Beneficial Insects Through Bio-Oil Production

Location: Soil Management Research

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The long-term goal of this project is to develop systems of best management practices for the Northern Great Plains (NPG) that not only minimize adverse effects of biofuel production on pollinators and predatory arthropods, but actively and purposefully promote populations of these beneficial insects (BI).


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Many BI are limited by the low abundance and diversity of food resources in spring and autumn. Consequently, a suite of field experiments and laboratory analyses will be performed. These activities will: (1) Document and compare the basic flowering phenology of a wide variety of NPG-adapted oilseed crops of known economic value with the intent of expanding the availability and diversity of pollen and nectar from April to November. (2) Develop management protocols that extend flowering times, especially in spring and autumn. (3) Examine rotational compatibility of oilseed crops with standard biofuel crops, including corn, soybean, and switchgrass. (4) certify BI use of oilseed floral and vegetative resources. (5) Determine BI community assemblages. (6) Decipher BI spillover effects into adjacent rotational crops, especially as influenced by habitat edges and landscape fragmentation.


3.Progress Report:

The long-term goal of this project is to develop systems of best management practices for the Northern Great Plains (NGP) that not only minimize adverse effects of biofuel production on pollinators and predatory arthropods, but actively and purposefully promote populations of these beneficial insects (BI). Highlighted activities for this project include the following: (1) Established three (spring flowering) winter oilseeds in Morris, MN, in the autumn. Extensive autumn drought in Brookings, SD, prevented good crop establishment. (2) Established ten summer-growing oilseed crops at both locations in the spring. (3) Collected pollinator visitation and abundance data on all crops during anthesis, including new designs for insect sampling devices. (4) Gathered valuable soil fertility and water use data by team members. (5) Wrote manuscripts (and co-authors reviewed) that describe small, but important portions of the current project. One of these manuscripts deal with calendula heat-stress tolerance and the other involves echium planting date effects on seed yields.


Last Modified: 12/17/2014
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