Supplemental and synchronized pollination may increase yield in cacao

Forbes, Samantha Jay, Mustiga, Guiliana, Romero, Alberto, Northfield, Tobin David, Lambert, Smilja, and Motamayor, Juan Carlos (2019) Supplemental and synchronized pollination may increase yield in cacao. HortScience, 54 (10). pp. 1718-1727.

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Artificial pollination management strategies are a potential solution to improving the livelihoods of smallholder cacao farmers by increasing crop productivity in situations when pollination services are limiting. However, field-based research trials evaluating the yield benefits of artificial pollination management strategies within intensified cacao systems are lacking. Thus, in an intensively managed cacao system, we evaluated the effects of artificial pollination condition (i.e., pollen genotype, pollination intensity, and pollination synchrony) on fruit development and yield in three high-yielding cacao clones. Artificial pollination, regardless of intensity, significantly increased fruit set and yield. Pollination synchrony had a significant effect on cherelle survivorship; older cherelles had greater survival rates across all developmental stages than younger cherelles. Yield differed between genotype crosses and varied according to the pollen donor used, highlighting the importance of understanding self- and cross-compatibility when selecting clones for cultivation. Pollination intensity had no significant effect on harvested yield, indicating that more rigorous research is needed to identify the pollination intensity required for optimized yield under artificial pollination conditions. We conclude that strategies to enhance flowering, pollination rates, and pollination synchrony while ensuring adequate tree nutrition may increase productivity in cacao. Future research evaluating numerous cacao clones across multiple years and locations may help us to understand the region-specific effects of intensive management strategies on the long-term sustainability of enhancing cacao tree productivity.

Item ID: 60921
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2327-9834
Keywords: cherelle wilt, cocoa, dominance, fruit set, artificial pollination, resource competition, Theobroma cacao
Copyright Information: © 2019 American Society for Horticultural Science.
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2019 07:36
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3004 Crop and pasture production > 300413 Pollination biology and systems @ 100%
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