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Feasibility study on climate conditions for the production of almond (Prunus amygdalus Batsch) 'Guara' in the southwest region of Buenos Aires province

Roncoroni, F., Barrio, R.A. del
Acta horticulturae 2018 no.1219 pp. 229-234
Prunus dulcis, air temperature, almonds, climate, cultivars, farmers, feasibility studies, flowering, frost, frost injury, frost protection, fruits, heat, phenology, probability, spring, Argentina
Considering that almond (Prunus amygdalus Batsch) is one of the earliest blooming fruit species, it is relevant to determine its vulnerability to late frost damage. As the main almond production areas in Argentina are highly conditioned by spring frost, it is essential to determine spring frost damage frequency for developing new crop areas. By using the chill and heat requirements for the ‘Guara’ cultivar determined by CITA (Centro de Investigaciones y Tecnología Agroalimentaria de Aragón-Spain), we estimated the average date from endodormancy break to ecodormancy and the day of full bloom (F50) for the emerging almond production area in the southwest of Buenos Aires province (39.00°S; 61.61°W). We estimated the ‘Guara’ cultivar F50 date over five years (2012-2016), based on chill and heat requirements determined by CITA researchers and compared them to the field observation phenological F50 date. Based on the excellent fit achieved – R2: 0.90, P<0.01 – we extended the estimation of F50 back to the 2005-2011 period in which hourly air temperature data was available. By using the Pascale et al. (1997) method with the average F50 date of the 12-year series in the study area, we obtained 57.1% probability of frost damage. Considering the high frequency of frost damage to the ‘Guara’ cultivar in the study area, either farmers would have to use active frost protection methods or they would have to grow other cultivars of a later blooming date to achieve a profitable crop.