Almond Update: Seeds for Bees Program Accepting Applications

Brian GermanAlmond Update, Almonds, News from our Sponsors

The Seeds for Bees program from Project Apis M. is currently accepting applications for the 2024-2025 growing season. Stetcyn Maldonado, the program manager, explained that new participants receive up to $2,500 worth of free seed in the first year, followed by $1,500 worth in the second year. Returning applicants can also benefit from discounted seed purchases.

Seeds for Bees Program

“We’ve had a ton of applications already,” Maldonado explained. “The program is always increasing in popularity. So, if you wanted to get your cover crop seed, I would say apply as soon as possible, just because seed is limited and you want to make sure that your spot is secured.”

Among the available cover crop mixes, the pollinator Brassica blend stands out for its early blooming, ideal for almond orchards. Maldonado said it is also toxic to nematodes when you terminate the crop. The second-most popular mix is the NitroBuilder mix. “That one has triticale, common vetch, and daikon radish. People love that one for the nitrogen fixing that it has,” said Maldonado.

Cover crops not only help support pollinator habitat but also provide a variety of benefits for orchard health. They can help to improve water infiltration in the soil. Cover crops can also assist with weed suppression.

“They are going to be competing with your weeds. Plants naturally take up space and they use resources. So, you’re going to end up with a plant in your drive row,” Maldonado noted. “So, it’s either one that you picked to be there, or it’s going to be one that nature threw at you.”

The Seeds for Bees program enrollment period opened on April 1 and applications will be accepted through August 31. Maldonado said they strive to get the seed delivered to growers well before October 1. “That’s just because that sweet spot is planting between early October to mid-October. So, we do our best to get it delivered as soon as possible,” Maldonado explained.

Listen to the segment below.

Brian German
Ag News Director / AgNet West