15 Jul 2014

Researchers on hunt for Waikato land

7:46 am on 15 July 2014

Pollination researchers are looking for farmers in the Waikato region who are happy to lend them a plot of land for a few months.

The move is part of a Government-funded research programme investigating the role other insects besides honey bees play in pollinating crops, and how that might be increased.

Researchers at Plant and Food Research and the University of Auckland are working on the Waikato project, and PhD student Jamie Stavert said they were looking for at least 15 trial plots.

"We're looking at how insect pollinators such as bumble bees, native bees and flies work together to pollinate crops and how these pollinators are affected by land use changes.

"So at the moment we're just looking for sites within farms in the Waikato region, where we could plant out a 50 by 50m plot of pak choi. We would be looking to do that in mid October and in mid December to measure the visiting pollinating insects."

The researchers were using pak choi because it was visited by a number of different pollinators, was easy to cultivate and the seed set from it could be quite easily measured.