II Chilean Berries Congress 2015 Professor Jorge Retamales: "Ideas come to mind that is ready ..."

The past 13 and 14 of August was held in the Aula Magna of the Faculty of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences of the University of La Frontera, in Temuco, the "II Chilean Congress of Berries 2015".

The academic Walter Lobos, president of the Organizing Committee, declared in previous days that on this occasion the meeting will address the item from different perspectives. "We intend that researchers, professionals, entrepreneurs and those who have to do with the world of berries, whether cultivated or native, can participate. The topics to be discussed are also broad, since we want the Congress to be a space to make them known".

And his call was echoed, as more than one hundred and fifty people from all over the country attended, and the lecturers' presentations made progress in tackling different topics and from different perspectives, the field of berries and fruit growing in general.


Among the topics discussed were the "Impact of damage to blueberries in the harvest and selection line", developed by Dr. Fumiomi Takeda, fruit researcher at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA); the “Position of Chile as a producer of Blueberries in the world: Opportunities and Challenges”, presented by Andrés Armstrong, Executive Director of the Chilean Blueberry Committee; and Dr. Pilar Bañados, Agricultural Engineer from the Catholic University of Chile, who shared her presentation: "Berries: A look into the future."

A prominent role was taken by the researcher and full professor of the University of Bologna, Italy, Adamo Rombolá, who spoke on "Development of highly sustainable agricultural systems and their potential application in the production of Berries".

Highly sustainable agricultural systems are integrated systems of production practices that have a site-specific application, in which the interactions between the different components of an agricultural system (soil, plant species, animals, human beings) produce long-term synergistic effects, which can be translated into tangible benefits for the environment, soil fertility, biodiversity, resilience, productivity, income and the capacity of the system to meet the food demand of future generations.

These systems are based on the efficient use of natural resources, by drastically limiting or even avoiding the application of water (irrigation) and fertilizers.

Professor Rombolá shared the experience of two tests carried out by his team of researchers, in which the application of irrigation and fertilization treatments were not considered. In both trials, at the end of the vegetative season, inter-row crops (beans, barley, underground clover, among others) were planted in alternate rows. The intercrops were harvested at the end of spring, with the aim of incorporating the biomass in the soil and thus improve their fertility conditions.

In these experiments, different forms of defoliation, shoot management and pruning (early or late) were used, showing results that indicate that plants submitted to biodynamic or organic production systems showed comparable vegeto-productive development as well as good nutritional status and sanitary, and finally emphasizes that the practice of cultivating the inter-row or over-row with some of the above-mentioned species leads to greater soil fertility. This practice, although experimented and researched in the cultivation of the vine, could be implemented in berries orchards.

Investigation in the future

In addition to the quality of the topics and the speakers, the Congress was highlighted by the presence and participation of students, both undergraduate, master's and doctoral students, who presented progress and results of their theses in which they are working, touching on topics such as : "Gaseous leaf exchange in blueberry Emerald under conditions of iron deficiency" or "Vegetative growth and concentration of chlorophyll in response to sustainable strategies of correction of iron deficiency in blueberry Emerald", developed by Lucia Michel, Master student of the University From Chile; "Effect of boron concentration on the synthesis of phenolic compounds in cranberry", by Cristian Meriño; "Diameter and location of canes and their effect on yield and quality of fruit in tall bush cranberry", by María José Palma, from the University of Talca; "Physiological implications of sustainable strategies for the control of ferric chlorosis in blueberries, Star variety", by Aletia Montero, Master student of the University of Chile; "Effect of water deficit on yield and quality of fruit in blueberries", by Tomas Lobos, among others.

Retamales Teacher

Professor Jorge Retamales, member of the Organizing Committee, declared at the close of the meeting that: "In this Congress they made progress in certain topics of interest for producers, researchers and students. We saw very interesting presentations like Dr. Rombolá's on sustainable development. And then, about specific works of discussion regarding native and cultivable species related to outdoor management, as pots and trials in different types of substrates and cultivation forms".

Professor Retamales made a tour of each of the contents exposed, highlighting that there is "many hours of effort and dedication behind all these studies, to try to present in a didactic way and clarify the concepts, present a contextualization of the topics for a better understanding. All aiming at increasing yield and improving quality, and in our case as an exporting country, increasing post-harvest life. An important component is to always think about the sustainability of the crops, worry about not altering the balance within the ecological component and develop native crops (... maqui, murtilla.) With the same hand, hopefully to introduce them commercially and export them".

Jorge Retamales also highlighted the presence and investigations of the students emphasizing that "The important thing in research is not so much the answer or reaching the goal, but rather that the important thing is on the road, learning as we go along the road and in this process, hopefully transmit it to the private sector for implementation. So those questions come from observation… listening to producers, seeing the work that exporters and chemical companies are doing. You have to be attentive, because the ideas come to the mind that is prepared. You have to use all the senses to try to pick up the signals and then be able to direct the investigation and focus. Then an investigation must try to solve problems but trying to understand their causes, because otherwise that particular problem is solved but it is impossible to apply it in a broader context, it is necessary to understand the causes and factors involved in the process. Also considering that research resources are scarce in Chile, we must take advantage of them very well, the social component must always be kept in mind"He finished.


Source: Blueberriesconsulting.com - Martín Carrillo O.

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