Use of irrigation for citrus in Brazil’s state of São Paulo has grown by almost 33% in the last six years, according to Citricultor magazine, published by Fundecitrus. The magazine cites irrigation and other improved growing practices as causes for a continuing yield rate acceleration.
In 35 years, citrus production per hectare in São Paulo has leaped by about 178%, from 331 boxes in the 1988–89 crop year to more than 900 boxes estimated for the 2022–23 crop year. In the last five years, the average number of orange boxes harvested per hectare is 843, according to Fundecitrus data.
Fundecitrus General Manager Juliano Ayres said a “large share of this high yield” was spurred by advances in irrigation. “We are talking about an expansion rate of irrigated areas that jumped from 3% to 36% in 30 years,” Ayres said. “This scenario demonstrates that there is no turning back on the irrigation path.”
Agronomist and consultant Guilherme Oliveira Silva said the implementation of an efficient irrigation system may boost citrus production by 33% on average. Silva works at Forbb, a company specializing in irrigation for citrus farming. “Irrigation has been advancing in citrus farming and, more recently, it has moved down to the southern region of the state,” Silva stated. “This technical trend is expanding into areas where the incidence of rain has been dwindling.”
Silva added that there is also a need to irrigate in the north and central regions of São Paulo. “If that doesn’t happen, we are talking about truly jeopardizing production,” Silva said.
Other production practices leading to increased yields include better quality seedlings from protected nurseries, planting density, better combinations of canopy and rootstock, migration to more favorable regions, and improved disease management and nutrition.
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