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Field day explores boosting macca potential with native bees

Steve Maginnity - Australian Native Bee Company
Steve Maginnity from The Australian Native Bee Company. Image courtesy of Lismore City Council

Using native bees for macadamia pollination is not just good for biodiversity, it can also increase productivity and yield by upward of 35%.

Local farmers can learn more about the benefits of native bees for pollination at the Healthy Farms and Productive Macadamias field day on Friday, 26 October 2018 in Tregeagle.

The free event is part of Lismore City Council’s Rural Landholder Initiative and offers people in the macadamia industry a chance to hear first-hand from a range of experts including Steve Maginnity from The Australian Native Bee Company.

“We have been offering a pollination service for more than seven years with great success. In 2015 one of our many clients received the Australian Small Grower of the Year award from the Australian Macadamia Society for the amount and quality of the nuts the business produced,” Steve said.

Steve said that using native bees in macadamia orchards has proven to increase final nut set by 57-97%, ensure retention of nuts is higher, and increase kernel weights by between 18 and 31%.

Native bees are effective in an economic sense and leading industry advocates have been using hives in their orchards for some time now.

“Managing farm health so that the native bees are sustained throughout the year also helps to improve overall biodiversity, so there are win-win outcomes for production and the environment,” Steve said.

“It can give growers a good economic reason to restore areas of degraded habitat around and in orchards.”

Steve is also working with Lismore City Council and local growers on optimising native bee numbers for pollination with practical environmental restoration projects on farms.

As part of the field day, Steve will showcase the value of native bees to production, and present preliminary information about the Floristic Calendar project being trialled with Lismore City Council.

Other presenters joining Steve Maginnity include:

Jeremy Bright (NSW DPI)
Jeremy is the Macadamia Development Officer. He will talk about understanding pest lifecycles better and targeting approaches to pest control through biological, cultural and chemical methods.

Angus Underwood (Reconeco)
Angus is a wildlife ecologist and will demonstrate practical approaches to installing nesting boxes for owls and microbats and discuss the benefits these creatures provide in orchards.

Russel O’Regan (Basically Bush Restoration)
Russel co-operates a bush restoration business and can advise on the best ways to convert degraded bushland to healthy habitat in ecologically functioning orchards.

Leoni Kojetin (Australian Macadamia Society)
Leoni is the Industry Development Manager at the Australian Macadamia Society. She is tasked with delivering the macadamia industry’s innovation and adoption program which aims to raise productivity through the implementation of research and development.

The Healthy Farms and Productive Macadamias field day runs from 9am to 2pm and lunch is included. RSVP is essential. For bookings, phone Lismore City Council on 1300 87 83 87.

Source: Lismore City Council

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