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:
Progress was obtained through, email communications. Blueberry trials continued in Furnas and Ponta Delgada In 2010 and 2011. In Furnas, field trials ended in 2011. The research showed that most of the plants gradually lost its vigor; plants became weak with low flower production. The experiment concluded that the three varieties planted, “Emerald”, “Jewel”, and “Spring High”, are not suitable for the Azores climate conditions. In the Ponta Delgada blueberry trial for the period 2011, the plants of the “Misty” and “O’Neal” varieties (Southern Highbush) maintained a satisfactory growth rate compared to the “Brigitta”, “Elliot” and “Duke” varieties. Only the “Misty” and “O’Neal” varieties produced fruits. It was observed an average of 217g of fruit per each “Misty” plant, and 64g per “O’Neal” plant. In 2012, the crop season began on April 19 and ended in July 2. The fruits from the “Misty” variety represented 78% of the total production. The blackberry field trial produced 350 Kg, an average of 2.4 Kg per plant. The raspberry “Taylor” variety produced fruits for the first time in 2011. Harvest took place between June 24 and July 27. The trial produced 4.8Kg. The “Heritage” variety produced a total of 60Kg. Harvest started in the end of July 2011 and ended in January 2012. Two flyers and two manuals about integrated pest management and production of raspberries and blackberries were written and distributed to farmers and technicians. The manuals were made available in hard copy and electronic format. The research on the Medfly continued in 2011 at Rabo de Peixe, in San Miguel, and in Lagoa and Faja de Cima, in Ponta Delgada. The protocol established with SYNGENTA to study the control system ADRESS was maintained. Research trials were carried out to evaluate the management of the Japanese beetles with the fungus Metarhizium robertsii. This fungi is known to attack insects. No significant differences were observed for the different locations in the evaluated years. The outcomes of this project includes the acquisition of laboratory equipment to work with biological control of the Japanese beetle and the Mediterranean fly; the knowledge gained about pests and diseases that attack the types of fruits studied; and invaluable experience shared between Azorean and American technicians. This is the final report of this agreement.