09 April 2010

Agricultural Scientists Develop Self-Pollinating Almond Trees

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Self-pollinating almond trees that can produce a bountiful harvest without insect pollination are being developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists

This is good news for almond growers who face rising costs for insect pollination because of nationwide shortages of honey bees due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and other factors.

ARS geneticist Craig Ledbetter, at the agency's Crop Diseases, Pests and Genetics Research Unit near Parlier, Calif., is developing this new line of self-pollinating almond trees.

Self-pollinating almonds are not new. The Tuono variety, originally from Spain, has been around for centuries. But its traits are not attractive when compared to California's most popular almond, Nonpareil.

The original plantings in 1996 at first produced only small harvests, but by 2006 produced excellent results. In November 2008, after a very good almond harvest, Ledbetter and his team from Parlier brought eight very promising selections from his self-pollinating almond breeding program to the Almond Board of California for evaluation.

(Science Daily)

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