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A Comparative Study between Mechanical and Manual Pollination in Two Premier Saudi Arabian Date Palm Cultivars
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia produces nearly a million tones of dates annually from an estimated 25 million palms. Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) is a dioecious crop where male and female inflorescences are on separate palms. To ensure good fertilization and overcome disadvantages of dichogamy, enhance fruit set and sustain yield levels, each female inflorescence has to be artificially pollinated either manually which is time consuming and labour intensive or mechanically using pollinating devices. We therefore carried out a comparative study to assess the yield and yield attributes between manual and mechanical pollination in two premier date palm cultivars of Saudi Arabia viz. Khalas and Sheshi. Results indicate that manually pollinated palms gave the best fruit set in both the cultivars. However, with regard to yield results were cultivar specific. In Khalas, yield levels were statistically at par for both manual and mechanical pollination ranging from 10.99 to 11.54 Kg per bunch, while mechanical pollination was significantly superior to manual pollination in the cultivar Sheshi, where pollen : flour ratio of 1:15 resulted in the best yield of 8.06 Kg per bunch.
Date Palm, Phoenix dactylifera, Dioecious, Mechanical Pollination, Manual Pollination, Pollen, Female Inflorescences, Yields
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