1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this cooperative research project is to enhance economic benefit to Azorean horticultural producers through improved approaches to manage biotic stresses in Azorean fruit cultivation, field trials of new small fruit cultivars for potential commercialization in the Azores, and genetic studies for genotyping Azorean fruit cultivars. This project is part of the Azores Cooperative Initiatives Program (ACIP), as jointly decided in May 2003 by the ACIP Technical Working Group held by the United States Government and the Regional Government of the Azores. ACIP, or rather the requirement to engage in cooperative initiatives with the Azores, Portugal, is mandated in the 1995 US-Portugal Agreement on Cooperation and Defense and further defined in the Final Minute to that agreement. ACIP was created and has been implemented through Department of Defense (DOD) financial resources and relationships with civilian federal agencies and other non-governmental institutions as part of the U.S Government’s commitment to the agreement. DOD has requested and funded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA/ARS) to serve as the lead civilian agency and facilitator for ACIP. The agreement calls for the strengthening of the economic and social development of the Azores; the identification of areas within which cooperative activities and programs can promote this development; and this cooperation shall be in various areas outlined in the Final Minute, such as agriculture, education, environment, tourism and cultural exchange, civil protection, and social security and health. This cooperative project directly meets these objectives.
1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Support the enhancement of Azorean horticultural production by conducting research to: 1) develop and implement a reliable approach to plant production that reduces crop losses, provides a fair income for the farmer, reduces pesticide use, reduces damage to the natural ecosystems including biodiversity, reduces pesticide residues on crops and stimulates IPM research and educational capabilities in the Azores; 2) conduct field trials of new high-value crops with potential for cultivation in the Azores; 3) genetically identify and characterize several local fruit varieties grown in the Azores. This project is part of the same effort addressed in Project No. 0210-22310-002-61G with Ohio State University.
3. Progress Report
This report serves to document activities conducted under a specific cooperative agreement between ARS and the Regional Government (RGA) of the Azores Directorate for Agricultural Development under the Azores Cooperative Initiatives Program (ACIP), as mandated in the 1995 U.S.-Portugal Agreement on Cooperation and Defense and further defined in the Final Minute (95 ACD-FM) to that agreement and funded by Department of Defense. Progress was followed by ARS and Ohio State University cooperators during trips to the Azores and discussion with RGA staff from the Directorate of Agriculture. Last Spring, Drs. Kim Hummer (ARS) and Bill Cline (OSU) visited to review the blueberry and blackberry trials and also to take samples of apple and pear young leaves to study the genetics relations and the nomenclature of the different varieties existing in S. Miguel as was done in Terceira. This profitable visit helped identify problems experience with the blueberries and clarified how to manage them. The the amount of chilling hours in the Azores are probably not sufficient for the plants to express all their fruit set potential, even for the Southern Highbush type plants. This is also true for the blackberries (bud breaks have not yet occurred) even more true for the raspberries, which require more chilling hours. Dr. Cline expressed the idea that some of the diseases problems experiences and the high number of dead plants that occurred in the Calhetas plot trial are due to a lack of adaptation of the plants to our environmental conditions. Plants are showing signs of great stress, struggling to survive in conditions where they are very susceptible. The cooperators also visited some native blueberry plants in their natural habitat where they found the presence of leaf rust disease in those plants as well as scale. It is thought that that this rust is probably the same present in the blueberry plot trial at Furnas. RGA will try to confirm this. Nevertheless, at least one variety (Emerald) was reasonably productive (96.61 ± 29.63) at the height of production in August 2008). The RGA determined to no longer support this activity after this year. Cooperation will continue until the agreement is terminated once the funds are expended.