This Thursday morning started with lectures about genetic improvement and a special symposium about irrigation in citrus farms.
Dr. Fred Gmitter, from the University of California, spoke about genomics. For him, this is the future of citriculture, and compared its importance to the use of broadband for communications and the the highways for transportation. In an hour lecture, Dr. Gmitter showed the evolution of genomic tools in the last three decades and the use of genetic sequencing to create new and improved types of sweet oranges.
Following, the researcher Leandro Peña, from Fundecitrus, talked about the use of genetics to combat HLB or citrus greening, the disease that most worries researchers and producers all over the globe. According to him, one of the ways to fight HLB could be the change in the genetic structure of oranges to increase repellency, in such a way that they avoid the insect vectors. Ele spoke about researches that analyze orange leaves to create a line of plants resistant to HLB.
Another subject today was the challenge of irrigation in citrus crops.
Danilo Luchiari, consultant from GTACC and one of the coordinators of the parallel symposium about irrigation, spoke about new technologies and their application of theories on everyday tools in citrus crops.
One of the innovations in irrigation is the use of DRIS (Diagnosis and Recommendation Integration System), a monitoring method -through the leaves- of the plant nutrition and health. This technique has already been used by large companies and has presented very positive results. It is high productivity through balanced nutrition of the plant.
For him, the challenge of the future is water shortage. One of the solutions pointed would be the authorization from the government to store water for irrigation.
“There has to be water for all producers. The climate is changing and it’s getting more and more difficult for small producers who can’t have irrigation. If we don’t store this water when there is a lot available, it goes to the sea, and we lose this water.”
The International Citrus Congress finishes on Friday 23rd. The day is going to bring more debates about the climate influence on citrus crops and the precision agriculture and mechanical harvest in citriculture.