Chilean organic blueberry study expected to yield nationwide benefits

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Chilean organic blueberry study expected to yield nationwide benefits

Chilean berry company Hortifrut (IPSA: HF) is conducting a study into better nutritional management in a bid to improve organic blueberry production.

Chile's Foundation for Agricultural Innovation (FIA) is co-financing the project, conducted in the VII (Maule), VIII (Bío Bío) and IX (Araucanía) regions with the aim of applying the findings nationwide.

Project coordinator Denise Donnay said it was "critical" to have a system that improved the productivity and profitability of organically managed orchards.

"We now know the nutritional value of some organic nitrogen fertilizers, but we do not know the absorption rate dynamics, which limits the most efficient and appropriate use of resources."

The FIA expects the project will result in better decisions over which nutrients to use, their application and price.

The agency's innovation executive René Martorell, said technical management advances had reduced nutritional imbalance problems such as soft, small or dehydrated fruit.

Scientific instruments will estimate the productivity of each irrigation unit, soil chemical properties, the orchard's nutritional needs and organic fertilizers' nutrient levels and absorption rates.

Blueberry consultants, managers and producers will have this technology installed on their computers, covering 60% of Chile's organic blueberry production.

"The project will provide a technical base on types of organic fertilizers, application rates and nitrogen dynamics of three types of soil which can be extrapolated to all organically cultivated fruit," FIA stated.

The agency said this would enable adjustment of parameters such as nutritional requirements based on each phenological production stage.

Photo: FIA

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