Pollinating SunGold under cover – A case study: Full Pollination – no Bees
In a Te Puke case study, Kiwi Pollen tried pollinating SunGold kiwifruit under a cover with no bees.
Not a typical cover, the cloth only sat 1.2m above the canopy. It was installed post Psa in early 2012, with little knowledge and even less funds.
Some of the cover was irretrievably damaged in the big October 2015 wind.
Left under the cover was 1.5ha, and despite attempts with standard high population hives, nuc hives and advice and trials by external experts, Kiwi Pollen hasn’t been able to achieve bee pollination.
“The cover is just too low,” says Kiwi Pollen General Manager Monica Roach.
“Pollination has been achieved by hand spraying every flower with PollenAid wet spray and every season we have achieved the same yield metrics as the rest of the orchard with no covers.
Hand spraying is the most effective method of achieving full pollination. Practically, though, it is extremely resource intense, taking a team of eight people, working six to eight hours per day for 10 days, applying 1000g of pollen per ha.”
In 2020, Kiwi Pollen sprayed part of this area with a pollen boom sprayer, applying 500g of pollen per ha every second day – total per ha: five applications, five person/machine hours and 2500g pollen per ha.
The yield metrics for wet boom sprayed were the same as the hand sprayed – orchard gate return (OGR): 220,000 per ha.
“The future will see us pollinating with the boom sprayer with scarce staff deployed elsewhere,” says Monica.
Monica notes these results are for full pollination and no bees.
“The uncovered orchard is pollinated with bees, plus supplementary pollen is applied by a variety of methods as seasonal needs dictate.”

ATV Mounted PollenAid Wet Sprayer
• Suitable for larger side by side ATVs, can be modified for medium ATV
• Footprint Dimensions: 1220mm W x 870mm D
• Weight: 250 kg approx. tbc
• Pollen Concentration: Any
• Tank Capacity: 120 litres
• Boom Width: Adjustable, Max: 2.4 m
• Boom Height: Adjustable, Min 480mm Max 780mm from ground
• Speed – Full Pollination Per Pass: 1.3 ha per hour (4 km/hour, average row width 4.2m)
• Speed – Top Up Per Pass: 2.5 ha per hour (6 km/hour, average row width 4.2m)