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Coordinating pollination for better crop, profits
August 14, 2013

Plastic sheets on test plots where alkali bees emerge.

PROSSER, Wash. – Huge, colorful plastic squares decorating a farm field in the Touchet Valley may look like works by environmental artist Christo, but they’re really part of an experiment to help producers of alfalfa seed realize higher profits.

Alfalfa farmers in the area produce seed yields that are twice the national average. The sheets are part of Washington State University research to better synchronize the timing of alfalfa blooming with the emergence of its chief pollinator, the native alkali bee. 

 

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