INIA researcher presents advances to protect blueberries before climatic events
The food industry worldwide is constantly expanding and Chile has the opportunity to respond to this demand with healthy and safe products. This is the case of cranberry, a fruit with multiple benefits for the health of people, which nationally reaches an approximate area of 16 thousand hectares and more than 100 thousand tons exported mainly to North America.
This was explained by the INIA La Platina researcher, Bruno Defilippi, who together with a group of INIA researchers analyze the behavior of this berry in the south-central regions of the country, where one of the main limitations to obtaining a quality product are climatic events, such as hail or rains in critical periods.
In that sense, Dr. Defilippi noted that although the private entrepreneur has already introduced the protection of crops with coverage, the objective is to demonstrate the real effect of this technology in the management of postharvest and quality of blueberries, so that it is a technology applicable to a greater number of producers, considering the variations of agroclimatic zone and varieties. "We are not only analyzing the effect of crop protection against damaging climatic events, but defining the pre and post-harvest management practices under a cover system so that the fruit arrives in perfect conditions to a target market in 30, 40 or 50 days after harvest. And for this we work together with professionals from the different INIA units, and others associated with the Universidad de Concepción. "
Regarding the methodology, Defilippi said that one of the first stages of the study, which will last for five years, was the evaluation of different types of materials used in coverages installed in different geographical areas, such as polyethylene, raffia or mesh, determining that all were unequal in modifying the variables that affect the growth and development of the crop. "Then, it is not to arrive and buy a polyethylene. You need one with indicated characteristics that serves not only to protect, because perhaps you are softening the fruit, "he said.
Along these lines, the varietal turnover that occurred in Chile was also considered as a consequence of the dynamism of the blueberry business in the world. Currently, consumers are in distant markets such as the United States, Europe and Asia, and they are demanding firm varieties, that is, a blueberry that arrives soft, and hopefully has flavor, does not work. "The pool of varieties that we had in the country served to reach closer markets, but when the need to expand markets, increasingly distant, you have to renew that varietal pool, because the solution will not be only for the change of cultural or productive management. So, there is a huge renovation, "he said.
The data provided by Bruno Defilippi correspond to the first results of a project that INIA is developing together with the Blueberry Committee of the Association of Fruit Exporters of Chile AG (Asoex), the private company and the University of Concepción, to evaluate the use of toppings in new varieties of blueberries.
Along with Dr. Defilippi, other national and foreign researchers met at the XIV International Blueberry Seminar 2019, with the aim of addressing new trends, management and opportunities offered by the blueberry market. The meeting organized by Blueberries Consulting with the sponsorship of INIA and ProChile, was held at the Hotel Monticello Conference Center and hopes to be replicated in Peru, Mexico and Spain soon
At the seminar there were three international exhibitors, eight national exhibitors (three of them are specialists from INIA), and more than 23 international and national sponsoring companies. The activity began with a complete analysis of the 2018-2019 season, by the Executive Director of the Chilean Blueberry Committee, Andrés Armstrong. Later, the other two INIA specialists tackled wood diseases and nutritional tools to obtain quality fruit.
The specialist in soil fertility and plant nutrition of INIA Quilamapu, Juan Hirzel, presented the advances in nutritional management of cranberry cultivation in Chile, emphasizing the need to improve the quality and condition of fruit, "and the use of nutritional supplement tools that contribute to the achievement of these objectives ". He explained that most of the information presented has been generated by his own research over almost 20 years of work at INIA. "In my opinion, the activity was a success, with much interest from the attendees, complementing my talk with the presentation of the book" Nutritional Diagnosis and Principles of Fertilization in Fruit and Vines "from which 25 copies were sold in the stand of publications of INIA ".
Meanwhile, during the talk "Diseases of cranberry wood", the phytopathologist and researcher at INIA Quilamapu, Andrés France, referred to common problems, emerging and especially potential. "The main problem in the management of these diseases is prevention. Most pathogens enter through wounds in the wood, such as pruning. There is the key, "he stressed. He also stressed the importance of protecting those wounds - in addition to removing branches and diseased plants - because they are sources of inoculum and "it is normal for them to be left abandoned, thereby generating more diseases."
The Institute of Agricultural Research (INIA) is the main agricultural research institution in Chile, linked to the Ministry of Agriculture, with a national presence from Arica to Magallanes, through its 10 Regional Centers, as well as technical offices and experimental centers in each of the regions of the country.
Its mission is to generate and transfer knowledge and strategic technologies on a global scale, to produce innovation and improve the competitiveness of the agri-food sector. www.inia.cl
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