Organic farms produce strawberries with fewer malformations and a higher proportion of fully pollinated berries relative to conventional forms, according to a Feb. 15 report in the open access journal PLoS ONE.
The study, led by Georg Andersson of Lund University in Sweden, investigated the effect of organic farming compared to conventional. They found that the pollination success increased greatly with organic farming, and speculate that this effect may be due to an increase in insect pollinator abundance and/or diversity. They also determined that this effect was apparent within two to four years of the conversion, suggesting that there is not a significant lag time before pollination benefits are seen after adopting organic farming practices.
The results "suggest that organic farming could enhance the pollination service in agricultural landscapes, which is important for developing a sustainable agriculture. The method made it possible to measure the pollination independent of landscape composition, soil-type and other factors that can affect pollination success", says Dr. Andersson.
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Andersson GKS, Rundlof M, Smith HG (2012) Organic Farming Improves Pollination Success in Strawberries. PLoS ONE 7(2): e31599. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031599