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 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. 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 in direct support of, and cooperation with, project number 0210-22310-002-61G with Ohio State University and ARS-Corvallis. Introduction of new crops: The trial of blueberry varieties in Sao Miguel Island are going well. Ammonium sulfate applications and bird netting have been used. Leaf rust was a problem during and after September last year, so cooperators are seeking an optimal management strategy. The RGA cooperator presented a poster on the blueberry trials at the 2008 International Society of Horticulture Science 9th International Vaccinium Symposium at Corvallis. The poster co-authored by Dr. Kim Hummer of the USDA-ARS National Clonal Germplasm Repository at Corvallis and with Dr. Roger Williams of the OARDC/Ohio State University. Blackberry plots were set up at Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel island). Pest management: Drs. Lawrence Lacey and Stephen Jaronsky, ARS-USDA, provided training on Producing and Quality Control of the Entomophagous Fungi Metarhyzium anisopliae. The RGA intends to produce enough of a local variant of this fungi species to use in the Japanese Beetle control program. Lab equipment and materials were procured to do this, but some efficacy problems set in once production began. Dr. Jaronsky will be conducting a follow up visit in late September to ensure that the appropriate methodology is followed. Dr. Michael Rogers, Citrus Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Lake Alfred, visited the Azores in February 2008. Based on field visits and discussion, the RGA initiated a study using a mating disruption technique (SPLAT application of concentrated pheromone) in two orange groves. The data was sent to the US cooperator for analysis, but the study was discontinued as the current SPLAT formulation was not correct. To control the medfly (Ceratitis capitata) population on a field of strawberry guava, the RGA has deployed a large number of traps to find a correlation between the number of flies captured and the damage on the fruits. Fruit infestation will be estimated through a systematic weekly fruit sampling during the harvest season.