This Precision Apiculture project seeks to enhance the health and effectiveness of managed honeybees for soft fruit production. The research challenge has been identified specifically by industry partners.
BerryWorld are one of the leading international soft fruit marketing businesses, working with growers in the UK, Iberia, Africa and South America. BerryWorld with Hall Hunter Partnership are keen to determine the optimal stocking rate for their soft/top fruit and already have a substantial spend on hives annually.
This project is a collaboration between The World Bee Project, the University of Reading, and Oracle for Research.
The aim of this 24 month project is to develop a simple tool to improve the health of honey bee colonies and optimally deploy hives to maximise benefits to yield, quality and profit in soft fruit production.
The World Bee Project is assisting the University of Reading by providing technical project design, support and training for the research design, set-up and running of sensor experiments and assistance in interpreting findings from the huge and complex data generated by the monitoring technology being deployed.
The annual benefits of pollination for soft fruit production in the UK alone are worth £490M, with a £334M for strawberries, £112M for raspberries, £15M for blackcurrant, and £28M for other crops. Pollination services are provided by a combination managed honeybees (and sometimes bumblebees) and wild pollinators. But major gaps remain in the optimal management of honey bees for soft fruit production.
Soft fruit growers everywhere have a substantial spend on honey bee hives annually, yet evidence to supporting best practices for stocking densities, positioning and management of hives is often outdated or incomplete. Growers need to be able to confidently invest in the correct number of hives for their operation and avoid overspend and loss of product quality. This is business critical.
If you are a grower and would like to work with us on a similar project to improve the health of your honey bee colonies and optimally deploy hives to maximise benefits to yield, quality and profit in fruit production, please write to us here.