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Brad G. Howlett, Samantha F.J. Read, Maryam Alavi, Brian T. Cutting, Warrick R. Nelson, Robert M. Goodwin, Sarah Cross, Trevor G. Thorp and David E. Pattemore

Macadamia is partially self-incompatible and cross-pollination is considered important to improve yields. However, questions remain regarding the importance of self- vs. cross-pollination, and subsequently whether managed pollinators are useful in commercial orchards. Pollinators play a key role in cross-pollination, but for self-pollination, the protandrous florets might also benefit from the movement of potentially more viable self-pollen among florets, racemes, and trees through pollinator movement. There is also a lack of information on pollination deficits throughout orchards and whether by increasing the intensity of cross-pollination, final nut yield is limited by within-tree resource allocation. Using caged and bagged racemes on three cultivars, we found strong evidence for self-pollination, but no evidence that hand moving self-pollen within racemes, between racemes, or between trees improved final nut set. In all cases, hand cross-pollinated racemes yielded significantly more nuts. Hand cross-pollinated racemes also produced significantly more developed nuts than open-pollinated racemes (all racemes were exposed to pollinators). However, by increasing the intensity of hand cross-pollination per tree, we showed that resource allocation probably overinflates these measures of pollination deficit in macadamia. Despite this, our findings point to an opportunity to increase yields through additional cross-pollination, as high-intensity hand cross-pollination of flowering racemes within trees still resulted in increased nut set. Although self-pollination can occur in macadamia, to optimize yield potential, strategies to maximize cross-pollination should be adopted.