With a record attendance of nearly 150 participants, the first Chilenut Field Day was organized by Chilenut. The event hosted producers, exporters and other important members of the agricultural and exporter industry at Agrival in Pirque.
Pedro Monti, the general manager of Chilenut, was very enthusiastic and optimistic about the possibility of bringing together different players in the industry.
“So the idea is the effective transfer of information in practical terms that come to the aid of producers, in this case we have chosen this topic very much at this time because we will start the harvest,” said Monti.
The focus of the event was on the final things for the beginning of the season, since, as Monti explained, “the harvest, the drying and the removal of the hair are the world’s unique and important points, since much of what happens in the harvest determines the outcome that is in the year.”
The activity started with a walk through the village which has 420 hectares of walnut plantations. Pablo Vial, general manager of Agrovial, shared with the guests part of the harvest, the irrigation system and told his experience planted with walnut trees, by his family in the field of Pirque since 2007.
Then, together with Francisco Garcia Huidobro, the walnut councilor, they offered a talk on the cover points established for the event.
For nut producers, there is great concern about the salt levels that are in the water. These levels of chlorine are very harmful to walnuts as they weaken the walnut tree causing it to fall prematurely.
Water, in the Metropolitan Region, shows chlorine levels in water around 180-200 ppm, and the recommendation for a walnut tree is not higher than 60 ppm.
One of Vidal’s recommendations to reduce the impact of salt on the tree is to use a lot of water after planting to wash away the salts that accumulate over time.
Chlorine levels go up because because of the heat, the snow melts ahead of time, so the water from the mountains that pass through the mountain reaches us, which carries many minerals from the soil, including chlorine, he said. .
“If we can’t irrigate with melted snow all the time, we’re going to have salt problems,” added the manager.
The situation is not only a water concern, producers have suffered a lot from water shortages in recent years. As a result, many crops are forced to stop growing and reduce.
It is certain that the bowl pruning of the trees has helped to have a vigorous orchard, despite the fact that the solid production is reduced.
“These orchards have had a difficult time recovering, we are producing 7,600 kilos per hectare, compared to the 8,500 kilos we were producing before the 2019 drought,” he said.
Who will give the harvest to begin?
In order to start the harvest, the board agrees that they need a perfect nut shell.
Despite the fact that from an operational point of view you want to prevent the autumn and winter rains as soon as possible, the harvest plan must be purely commercial.
“If it’s a nut with hair attached, you have to wait because once you start operations, you have all the workers, the machines running, you can’t go back down. If the product reaches the exporter with a poor yield or is damaged, we cut off its legs because today is what defines the price of the product,” Vial said.
Ampulla recommends taking a sample from the dryer, sending it directly to the receiving exporter so that they can send back the analysis and evaluation of the product before carrying out the entire operation.
the time of the exhibition
The event presentation was made by Cristóbal Socias, director of sales and marketing of the exporter La Invernada, describing the commercial aspects of this season.
The allies highlighted the quality of Chile’s produce compared to the United States, which was very low last season.
The director, who was also at Gulfood in Dubai, stated that the world’s most beautiful food, Chilian fruit market is the most attractive to India.
“India is the market that consumes Chilean products and is called to become the main destination for the country’s nuts. It is a complex market, but it has people and they want to pay for quality products, so it is important to focus on quality, because today 90% of the demand comes from here”, Socias said.
Although it is difficult to determine the exact number, this year, according to Chilenut, it is expected to have a harvest close to 190,000 thousand tons, between 15 and 12 thousand tons more than last year.
The opening of China after Covid also creates great expectations for local producers, since it is the main consumer of dry fruits.
But a lower price of the product is expected this next year.
Shell fruit values for the FOB period start at USD $2.30, a value 12% lower than last year due to the low prices offered by producers in the United States of America.
Allies promises to be an important fruit shell care, since the seed returns well below its value, around USD $1.70.
“You can do everything to take care of the harvest, so that it is clean and healthy, because broken or stained fruit ends up in the split or they have to lower the price and sell much lower,” he said. Allies
Faced with a short period of time for the US, the Allies closed saying: “Today’s situation is somewhat positive, I hope we can put it to give stability to the price and the market can exercise.”
Present at UC Davis
The UC Davis research center was present in Chile in Pirque offering its fruit extension program to the knowledge of walnut growers.
Juan Carlos Galaz, an expert in innovation and extension at UC Davis, explained that his goal is to “bring the knowledge that exists from universities closer to producers.” We have a working methodology developed in California that consists of identifying the producers’ needs, where there is a lack of technology and the challenges to develop research and offer solutions”.
Since 2015, the program has worked year after year to identify different challenges facing the country’s fruit industry, such as water salinization, crop diseases, and the water crisis.
“We have a collaboration agreement with Chilenut and that’s why we’re here to identify the producers’ needs, get ideas and be able to help them and provide them with knowledge throughout the different stages of the year,” added Nicole Undurraga, specialist. in innovation and extension at UC Davis.