Can you grow more fruits and nuts without bees? For several years, researchers have been trying to perfect the art of artificial pollination, providing an alternative to bees. Washington State University’s Matt Whiting has even licensed his intellectual property for a pollen suspension that can be applied to budding trees. But now, an Israeli agritech startup plans to enter the California market, initially to pollinate almonds. Edete Precision Technologies for Agriculture says it has successfully completed field trials in almond orchards in Israel using its mechanical pollen harvesting and pollination system and also tested its technology in Australia. The company plans to begin a pilot program using the technology in 2022 in California, the world’s largest almond growing region. “We are initially focusing our efforts on almonds, but our game-changing technology has huge potential for a wide range of other crops as well,” said Eylam Ran, CEO and co-founder at Edete. The list of additional crops includes apples, cherries, pears, blueberries, plums, cotton, rapeseed, and sunflowers, to name a few. In a release, Edete says its system is based on the mechanical collection of flowers and extracting pure pollen out of them, which enables the maintaining of good germinability rates of pollen stored for over one year. The dry pollen is applied on the trees using the company’s unique robotic pollination system which utilizes a combination of technologies to disperse an optimal dosage of pollen on the target flowers to achieve effective pollination. The application units can work during day or night and independent of ambient temperature.
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