Pollen-Tech has successfully completed its first field tests of its patented system for mechanically pollinating almonds as a supplement to bees. Our tests resulted in a 6.55% crop yield increase over the untreated control trees in the same 36 acre plot.
This is below our target of 10% to 15% increase in yield but clearly demonstrated the steps necessary to achieve the target yields in future tests. The test was on a 36 acre field located near Madera, California. The row of almonds used in the experiment are 2,376 feet long and have 140 trees spaced 17 feet apart down the row. Rows are 22 feet apart and one row is 1,200 acres. Rows 2-27 were used in this test, rows 1, 28, 29, 30 were guarded rows. The field consists of Non-Pareil almond variety on the even rows and Monterey variety planted on the odd rows. On the Monterey rows every 10th tree is replaced with the Carmel variety of almonds. The test is conducted on almonds Prunus dulcis that are pollinated with honeybees Apis mellifera 1.75 hives per acre and nine frames of bees per hive.
The pollen used in the experiment was 100% natural obtained from Firman Pollen. The sprayer used to distribute the pollen slurry was provided by Electrostatic Spray Systems (ESS) and was a special design requested by Pollen-Tech. Pollen was mixed into a proprietary slurry mixture. The slurry mixture is pumped into a water stream that goes to a spray nozzle where the liquid is electrostatically charged. Air pressurized by a turbo charger blows the electrostatically charged liquid out of the nozzle and into the trees. The pollen is attracted electrostatically to the tree branches and especially to the stigma of the flower where pollination is completed.