"Spain: Cool "shower" to produce more and larger avocados"

A scientific test developed over the past two years by the subtropical trading company Trops aims to apply "a kind of shower or aerial irrigation" on avocado trees in order to cool them and thereby increase production and improve the fruit's sizes.

José María Hermoso, a researcher with more than forty years of experience in the public sector and who currently collaborates with the Trops R&D team, explained to Efe that the objective of this technique is to lower the temperature of the leaves and prevent failures in the processes of the plant's photosynthetic apparatus during the hottest months.

Despite the fact that the Axarquía region of Malaga is the main European producer of avocados, Hermoso said that its climatic conditions are not similar to those of the subtropical fruit areas, where there are milder temperatures and more humidity.

"When summer comes, we have maximum temperatures that far exceed 35 degrees Celsius. As a result, the plant slows down its photosynthetic apparatus and that has an impact on its performance," he said.

Hermoso stated that what they are trying with this test "is to give the trees a 'shower' in order to cool them down and deceive them; that is, to make the climate seem as similar as possible to that of their places of origin."

The results that have already been achieved include an increase in the production and above all, an improvement in the fruit's sizes, which according to Hermoso, is a very important step, given the increasingly demanding market requirements.

"Sometimes, it is more interesting to have fewer pieces per tree, but of a larger size," argued the researcher, who reported that work is carried out in automation based on temperature and humidity criteria, so that the system can be put into motion whenever necessary.

He said that the advantages of cooling the avocado trees down in the hours of maximum evaporative demand had already been studied.

In fact, the experimental station of La Mayora, located in Algarrobo and responsible for the introduction of subtropical crops in the Axarquía, carried out this test twenty years ago with good results from the point of view of the plant's hydric state and the increase in the fruit's calibres.

Hermoso, who worked in this body dependent on the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), said that at that time, the technique had to be abandoned.

"The technology that was available then, as far as application systems and automation is concerned, and the amount of water that was used did not make it viable for the producers, as it was not profitable," he said.

However, with current technology, the desired effect can be achieved with much less water and there are automation devices that are affordable for any producer.

Trops, which has its headquarters in Vélez-Málaga and brings together the production of 2,300 growers in the Axarquía and the Costa Tropical of Granada, has been carrying out tests for two years and the plan is to continue for another two.

"Avocados are usually a very cyclical crop and we always try to pick even years, so that there is one with a big load and another one with a lower load. In this way, the results are more reliable," added the researcher.

Source: EFE

Publication date:

Receive the daily newsletter in your email for free | Click here

Other news in this sector:

© FreshPlaza.com 2020

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber