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Title: Good crop/bad crop: Interrogating oilseeds for floral resources

item Forcella, Frank
item Eberle, Carrie
item Thom, Matthew
item Gesch, Russell - Russ

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/19/2014
Publication Date: 9/19/2014
Citation: Forcella, F., Eberle, C.A., Thom, M.D., Gesch, R.W. 2014. Good crop/bad crop: Interrogating oilseeds for floral resources [abstract]. In: Miller, T., Alexopoulou, E. and Berti, M.T., editors. International Conference in Industrial Crops and 26th Annual Meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Industrial Crops (AAIC). Program and Abstracts. September 13-19, 2014, Athens, Greece.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The Northern Great Plains is the most important region in the USA for the production of honey and transient honey bee colonies. However, floral resources to support such colonies between May and October are limited, and this limitation affects subsequent over-winter survival when the colonies are residing in California, Texas, and other southern states. Diverse, summer-flowering, oilseed crops that are adapted to NGP may provide more and better nutrition to these colonies than the limited floral resources currently available. We examined flowering times and pollinator visitations of nine spring-sown crops: borage, calendula, camelina, canola, crambe, cuphea, echium, flax, and sunflower. Sowing dates were varied (May, June and July) to explore effects on anthesis as well as seed yield. Early-sown camelina and canola could flower abundantly as soon as June. Late-sown calendula could flower throughout October. Volunteer canola (from shattered seeds of August-harvested plants) flowered and attracted pollinators until early November. Pollinators were numerous, often 60 individuals per minute of observation, on all crops except crambe and flax, which attracted few insects during anthesis. Flowers of borage and echium were especially attractive to pollinators. Honey bees often represented half of the observed individuals. Native pollinators tended to be more common, proportionally, on calendula, camelina, and crambe, but all oilseed species attracted a wide diversity of insects. Seed yields tended to be highest for early-sowings. Thus, a balance must be sought by growers between high seed yields and support of pollinators, but regardless of planting date, almost all oilseeds resulted in pollinator visitations appreciably higher than those observed in corn and soybean.