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The probability of La Niña is 52% this quarter

The last week the Agro-climatic Seasonal Outlook - Spring 2017 was held in Santiago, in the Torres del Paine room of the Ministry of Agriculture. This meeting was organized and convened by the Sub Department of Information, Monitoring and Prevention (IMP) for Comprehensive Risk Management. Antonio Yaksic Soulé, head of this Sub Department, was in charge of the activity, and it was attended by prominent exhibitors, and Agro representatives.

The day's objective was to analyze the agroclimatic perspective in the context of a severe drought, and its implications for the 2017-2018 agricultural season.

On this occasion, José Vicencio Veloso and Andrea Acevedo Núñez, both professionals from the Chilean Meteorological Administration (DMC), presented the September-October-November 2017 Seasonal Climate Outlook and its application in agriculture, stressing that the probability of the occurrence of La Niña is 52% for the October-November-December quarter; and that, between late spring and early austral summer, the possibility of a La Niña event will remain high. In addition, we analyzed the frost occurrences in September as well as the pluviometric regime for that period, compared to previous season.

In this sense, Vicencio explained that the occurrence of a La Niña pattern is enhanced due to the fact that a cooling in the Central-Eastern Pacific Ocean is forecast as well as warming of the Western Pacific Ocean, that is to say it is due to the gradient between both sides of the Pacific.

Water availability
Regarding the availability of water resources, Brahim Nazarala, from the Hydrology Division of the General Water Directorate (DGA), presented the Water Availability Forecast for the 2017-2018 irrigation season. Among its conclusions it indicates that for the northern zone, despite a low expected water availability, there would be no problems in agricultural irrigation since all the reservoirs in the area (irrigation reservoirs, regulated annually) accumulated volumes higher than those of the last 7 years, and most are practically at their maximum capacity.

On the other hand, the large reservoirs like Laguna del Maule and Lago Laja, although having decreased their capacity compared to last season, should have a certain amount of recovery, due to accumulated snow and the expected flows of their respective basins. In any case, professionals indicated that it takes between three and five years of normal rainfall to regain their average levels of storage.

Abel González Gelves, a researcher at the Institute of Agricultural Research INIA - Carillanca, presented the INIA CORFO Project: "Protection in Blueberry Orchards" technologies to mitigate the climatic risks and their impact on post harvest yield and quality. The professional showed the effects of climate on blueberry production in southern Chile, and protection technologies in orchards in order to mitigate the climatic risks and their impact on yield and post harvest quality.

Gonzalez also conducted an analysis of the 2016-2017 blueberry season, which ended with higher volumes, but with low returns due to significant advances in harvesting and exports, which resulted in markets with a greater supply (Chile and other countries), as well as the advance conditioning the fruit's quality.

The INIA researcher stressed that Climate Change forces producers to take mitigation measures before threats that arise such as: frost, radiation and rainfall. According to the professional, the increase in precipitation (mm) shows a high and significant correlation over the fall in yields.

On the other hand, the professional pointed out that in an orchard of 80 ha of blueberries, with a production of 700 thousand kilos for 65 days of harvest and a variable price / kilo cost of 450 pesos, they mean a total variable cost of 350,000,000 pesos, therefore it is necessary to improve the productive cost, which involves: 1) Reducing labor costs (low), 2) Increasing yield (kg / ha) and 3) Reducing crop vulnerability to climate risk (use of technologies such as roofs / meshes).

Source: SimFRUIT

Publication date: 10/3/2017


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