DEVELOPMENT OF A NEW DATE PALM POLLINATOR
Commercial date production necessitates artificial pollination that ensures good fruit set and overcomes disadvantages of dichogamy and also reduces the number of male palms in a planting area. The traditional method of artificial pollination is based on the climbing of the palms which is a tedious and costly operation and needs much time to complete. Current mechanical pollinators eliminate the need to climb the palms and thus reduce the work intensity and time, but they suffer from low reliability and controllability due to their design and need two workers to do the operation. A new electrical apparatus for pollinating date palms has been designed and developed in this research. The dispersing system used is of peripheral dispersion method and is completely different from the previous designs. Thus the pollination feasibility and controllability have been enhanced while the operation time and tool size, weight, and cost diminished in the new tool in comparison with current mechanical pollinators. The preliminary evaluation of the tool performance on the Barhee cultivar in Ahwaz region showed that though it lead to more fruit set than traditional and mechanical methods, the difference was not significant and thus the tool succeeds in obtaining the functional goal besides the aforementioned advantages. Mean fruit set attained by the developed tool, mechanical pollinator and traditional method was 68.12, 62.04 and 64.94% respectively. This tool handles 200 cubic centimeters of pollen mixture by which about 120 palms (about 1 ha date palm plantation) could be pollinated in each charge by only one worker.
Mostaan, A., Marashi, S.S. and Ahmadizadeh, S. (2010). DEVELOPMENT OF A NEW DATE PALM POLLINATOR. Acta Hortic. 882, 315-320
Phoenix dactylifera L., mechanization, peripheral dispersion, pollen dispersion, fruit set, pollen dilution