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Messages - agroventuresperu

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1
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Silvopasture
« on: June 15, 2024, 02:36:10 PM »
Rangeland grazing is usually done in savanna where most light reaches the ground. Even in wetter climates with planted timber trees like pines or in fact native or exotic trees to an area grazing intensity depends on tree density. Higher density areas with more mature trees can be lightly grazed or for short periods. There is a trade off between timber productivity and grazing animal productivity.

Supposedly, while there is a loss of productivity for both compared to a pure pasture or pure timber plantation, the return from the combination of both ought to be greater. The simplified math being that an acre of silvopasture produces more timber than a half acre of timber plantation and supports more livestock than a half acre of pasture. Really with proper spacing in most climates it's probably more like you're beating 1/3 acre of timber and 2/3 acres of pasture, but it's a simplification regardless. Also supposedly, there are some benefits to be had, such as improved fertility and reduced competition helping the trees grow faster and dappled shade improving animal health and possibly extending the grazing season given the right forage species.

Now, how many folks doing "silvopasture" are actually balancing things right, spacing trees correctly, pruning them, rotating their herds enough, ect.? I've yet to actually see a functioning silovpasture in real life, but I've seen plenty of pitiful attempts at it.

Will you please share some examples of the "pitiful attempts at it"? There are probably some good learning lessons.

2
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Plant ID CHALLENGE part 1
« on: June 15, 2024, 02:20:56 PM »

Part 2 here: https://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?topic=55330.0

There's been a few plants that we planted at our place that I've overlooked for the past four years. When someone sells you a plant down here, you really can't be 100% certain that it is what they say.

So, here are a few plants from our farm that I've been paying attention to lately that I'm not sure we've identified correctly. The first part of the series I will share a plant that I basically have no idea what it is, other than I think I remember hearing the name, Mamey Rojo, attached to it in conversation four years ago. It looks nothing like Pouteria sapota, nor is it Mammea americana. Therefore, I doubt it is any species of Mamey, so don't let that name throw you off. It's probably something completely different. Maybe it's not even a fruiting tree, who knows. I haven't seen any fruit on it, but it seems to be constantly flowering. We've fertilized it plenty over the years, and the ducks and geese have been using it as a shade tree this year, so it has all the fertility it would ever need to produce fruit, but so far just flowers all the time for about 2 years straight now.

Edit: I just cheated and used google search by image, so now I think I know what it is.

But maybe someone else wants to see if they can guess without using image search.











3
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Plant ID CHALLENGE part 2
« on: June 15, 2024, 02:19:17 PM »
Part one: https://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?topic=55319.0

Image searching online was pretty much useless in helping me figure out this next one. I'm about 99% sure I know what this is. If it is what I think, then the reason image searching doesn't work very well is because there are not many photos of foliage from young trees of this species.

The first photos are all of the same tree. The last photo is of a smaller tree.














4
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Plant ID CHALLENGE part 1
« on: June 14, 2024, 05:25:51 PM »
Part 2 here: https://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?topic=55330.0

There's been a few plants that we planted at our place that I've overlooked for the past four years. When someone sells you a plant down here, you really can't be 100% certain that it is what they say.

So, here are a few plants from our farm that I've been paying attention to lately that I'm not sure we've identified correctly. The first part of the series I will share a plant that I basically have no idea what it is, other than I think I remember hearing the name, Mamey Rojo, attached to it in conversation four years ago. It looks nothing like Pouteria sapota, nor is it Mammea americana. Therefore, I doubt it is any species of Mamey, so don't let that name throw you off. It's probably something completely different. Maybe it's not even a fruiting tree, who knows. I haven't seen any fruit on it, but it seems to be constantly flowering. We've fertilized it plenty over the years, and the ducks and geese have been using it as a shade tree this year, so it has all the fertility it would ever need to produce fruit, but so far just flowers all the time for about 2 years straight now.

Edit: I just cheated and used google search by image, so now I think I know what it is.

But maybe someone else wants to see if they can guess without using image search.











5
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Drought deluge possible split
« on: June 14, 2024, 04:48:24 PM »
When I was in the everglades last month, I heard a lot of people complaining about the drought. It did seem extremely dry for Florida standards.

6
Tropical Fruit Discussion / How To Propagate Vanilla?
« on: June 14, 2024, 04:44:27 PM »
Someone wants to sell us "cuttings" of vanilla for us to grow Is that right? I had assumed that they would be selling seeds instead, but I'm a total vanilla novice so what do I know.




8
"What is the cut diameter capacity of your unit? I read a lot of these reviews that say the things really struggle to cut more than 3/8", which would not be good in my case as some annona stems measure more than a cm or around 12mm, which would be about half an inch."

Yes, the telescoping prunner/picker branch limit is 3/8"-1/2" depending on the type of wood. So for avocado, 1/2" should cut fine, for citrus, probably 3/8" is the limit. If it's bigger diameter than that then you should probably be using a ladder to pick the fruit since you can only grip (prunner tip) about 5 lb fruits, anything more and it iwill slip out of it's grip.

Sounds like a bit of concern then, because we have Sweetsop fruits that can get pretty heavy. Not to mention we will have heavier stuff in the future too. The main concern is that cut capacity. Seems like a big limitation. I don't plant to use this for any pruning work, but some of the fruit stems can be pretty woody and thick. We went ahead and ordered a 5m unit from a distributor here. I'll post about how it goes. Maybe even make a video about it.

9
when are we getting some new vids dude?

hope the property (and you and the fam  :P) are doing well

Been doing a bit of travelling lately. Just started working on a new video today.

10
Yup, I use one just like what you showed which has the pruner and plastic grabber piece. It works fine for Annona, avocados, loquats and even large pomelos. I have been using this style pruner/picker for over 5 years, get it, you will like it. Just remember when you use it, you will need to squeeze the grip and hold the pressure to keep the jaws of the grabber closed. If you let go of the grabber handle the fruit will fall.

https://agromarket.pe/home/2024-kaizen-tijera-telescopica-cosechadora-5-m-kaizen.html

There's a bunch of distributors down here selling this one.

I'm worried all these pruner-style units are manufactured by the same one or two alibaba companies, because Amazon reviews are mixed on these sorts of items with many saying the pruner-trigger mechanism failed during first use. Consequently, I'm a little hesitant to pull the trigger (pun intended) on a purchase.

Maybe the one they're selling down here is a little more tried and true since it seems a lot of the avocado growers are using them. I can only hope.

What is the cut diameter capacity of your unit? I read a lot of these reviews that say the things really struggle to cut more than 3/8", which would not be good in my case as some annona stems measure more than a cm or around 12mm, which would be about half an inch.




11
I was thinking about getting one of those pickers that's basically a set of pruners at the end of a telescopic pole.
Here's an example:
https://www.amazon.com/Smarkey-Telescopic-Extendable-Harvester-Telescoping/dp/B08BFK2HPL/ref=sr_1_18?s=lawn-garden&sr=1-18

None of the other pickers with a basket or "finger" design would work as we have a lot of stubborn fruits like Annona where the stems do not separate. If you try forcing it the stem will just pull away a good portion of the inside of the fruit and you'll end up with mostly only skin harvested and some sort of rotting mess left in the canopy. So we're getting lots of these fruits and they are on pretty tall trees. The trees will just keep getting taller too. The stems of the fruit need to be cut in order to harvest properly. I've measured some fruit stems that are thicker than 1cm, so cutting capacity is a major factor in making a decision.

One other picker candidate would be a pole saw with a back end that can function as a pruner/lopper that you pull with a rope. The advantage with those is that they are by far the longest option. Example:
https://www.amazon.com/Upgraded-Branches-Pruning-Trimmer-Extendable/dp/B0CNCLQ3LW/ref=sr_1_4?s=lawn-garden&sr=1-4

I don't think I'd ever use the saw portion though. Imagine getting the saw snagged in a branch 30ft up. My main concern with those as a fruit picker is that the rope/pulley/lopper portion seems to stick out quite a bit, and it might get caught on branches or otherwise be difficult to finesse within the crown of a tree to isolate the stem of a fruit and make a clean cut without banging into fruit, branches, trunk, leaves, etc. and causing damage to the tree. Another disadvantage: As far as I can tell they don't have a way to grab the stem, and they don't have a basket/bag, which means the fruit is going to fall. An advantage is their cutting capacity. They can all handle fairly thick diameter stems/branches compared to the options marketed as fruit pickers.

Of course, the main factor is what we can reasonably acquire down here in Peru. I don't think shipping a pole saw that weighs over 10 pounds is going to be economical. Even those pruner-style telescopic fruit pickers are usually around 2 meters when unextended.

There are some domestic options like this:


But the longest version available now is only 4m. All distributors are out of stock of the 5 meter versions. And they aren't going to get any for a few months if ever.

I think it would be silly in our case to get anything smaller than 5 meters. Otherwise we will find ourselves needing another longer unit in a couple years.

There's a 5.5 meter version available on Ali-Express, but with shipping it ends up being about twice as expensive as one of the 5m ones that are sold domestically. It would be great if there were one of these pruner-style options that was significantly longer, yet 5.5 meters is the longest option I could find.

12
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Drought in the Amazon
« on: April 29, 2024, 10:12:41 PM »
In Brazil the Amazonian drought was historic. Countless thousands became stranded in riverside villages. It hit the entire north and northeast of Brazil and more so because the Atlantic was abnormally hot beyond El Niño in the pacific. It has already eased and is approaching normalcy. They’re predicting excess rain this winter for us. It’s been covered around the cacao harvest. It decimated nearly all of Latin America aside from Africa. We missed an entire harvest and the peak harvest nowish will likely be very low. It’s down 80% for us from last year

Everyone here wants to plant Cacao now. "Look at how high the prices are!"

Those terms "winter" and "summer" are so confusing here in equatorial south america. Do you mean winter as the rainy season? When is that typically in your area? Ours is typically October-May, and then June-September is the dry part of the year. Of course, here they call the rainy season, "invierno" which is confusing for someone from North America, because we learned that winter corresponds to the time of year when the sun is furthest away. South of the equator in Peru, winter ("invierno") happens to be the time when the sun is closest.


13
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Silvopasture
« on: April 29, 2024, 09:52:10 PM »
Anyone on here doing silvopasture?

14
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Silvopasture
« on: April 10, 2024, 01:47:29 PM »
Can anyone here point me to some successful examples of silvopasture with cows and high-density tree plantings? Most examples I see are very widely spaced plantings or dense plantings but within widely spaced rows. I'm interested in seeing something more similar to what we have here which is trees everywhere planted very close.

15
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Drought in the Amazon
« on: April 09, 2024, 08:20:58 PM »
Everything will be alright doesn't jive with me either. The climate change is normal and fluctuations are natural camp doesn't have many survivors these days. And the god will look after us camp was abandoned long ago. CO2 levels need to fall and emissions get increasing and vegetation clearing continues unabated.

Don't worry the Peruvian government will fix it.

16
I have a chocolate business so I grow cacao. But I also grow pataxte, cupuasu, and other theobromas and herranias. I like them all. But chocolate is a good business and I eat some chocolate as well. The rest of them are nice to have but it’s not a business. If you have plenty of money and don’t need to make a profit with your farm. …
Peter

No. There is no money to be made here from Cacao. The climate is slightly wrong, but more importantly, the economics involved with trying to amend the soil for commercially grown cacao where there are already significant levels of subsoil aluminum saturation on very steep slopes where machinery or vehicles cannot access does not make sense economically. People grow coffee here, which is a little more forgiving of that, but eventually their management causes too high levels of Al saturation for that as well, and so they burn all the shrubs and plant Brachiaria, or just let it grow fallow and go grab another patch of forest to destroy.

I would argue it's not so important species selection for profitability. Site selection is more important. But if it's all about the economics, then the environment typically gets thrown under the bus. Most people in this world don't have the money to be amending soils or buying agricultural land with fertile soil. It's a lot easier and more profitable to go make fertile soil by turning rainforest into ash.

From my experience in this area of the country, I'm not sure what I would recommend other than coffee in terms of profitable export crops. For a national crop, I might tentatively recommend Caimito as it seems to be a fruit that a lot of Peruvians in this region really like, and there are a lot of trees that fruit successfully around here without any help.


17
So you have found the traditional method of cleaning Pataxte seeds with sand works best?
Thanks for the feedback.

I find peeling it with my fingers and teeth works best while I'm already working on eating the pulp.

18
Thanks for letting me know. I always wondered what was below that layer.

19
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Drought in the Amazon
« on: April 08, 2024, 09:28:26 PM »
La Nina will soon be here. Hotter seas means more water in the atmosphere and it all about where it falls. ENSO is the main one to look at but the southern annula mode, Indian Dipole and a few others are worth looking at due to global implications.

La Nina coming-maybe.  The latest NOAA statement gives it a 62% of developing by June-August.     

With this past seasons' El Nino, the odds of a more active hurricane season for Hawaii were heightened.  In fact, tropical storm activity turned out to be quiet.

Weather disasters are on the increase in the US and elsewhere, so I take exception to the notion that "everything will be alright".   Indeed, that's not true for the past, present or future!

La niña has already arrived in Peru. El niño is officially over. 5C colder than normal ocean temps along the north coast right now. The prediction for the period April-June for our area is slighly higher than normal precipitation for the quarter. I hope they're right.

20
florida natural farming[/url] (fnf) doesn't water any of his trees, are his mango roots deeper than the roots of mangoes that are regularly watered?   

fnf is on a mission to plant bananas next to all his mangoes.  the bananas trade, via fungi, their surplus potassium for the mangoes' surplus resources.  potassium provides greater tolerance to cold stress among other things.  an interesting tidbit from the fig article is that figs have more potassium per ounce than bananas.   
Fnf either doesn't know what he's talking about or has deceived himself.
 
It's also common for the soil at the spodic layer and even below to remain saturated, and anearobic, through much of the rainy season. Tap roots of almost all fruiting trees cannot survive in anaerobic conditions. Anybody who tells you that mango or almost any other fruit trees have deep tap roots in spodosols is not living in reality.

This fellow goes into a backhoe cut then shows and explains very well how it works. He also explains how seemingly good looking  trees perish in Florida dry season when the shallow rooted trees haven't enough to keep them going.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlZwb4dGbGM

As for bananas trading potassium, I'd enjoy seeing some research documenting that. But I do know that banana accumulates potassium, even in the pseudostems. Since banana stems are disposable annually at harvest, that biomass production contains the potassium and can be used as chop/drop around the fruiting trees. Ive done that continuously but eventually trees crowd out bananas in most cases. A quicker source of cheap potassium is wood ash of any type, even washings from biochar production is good.

Any idea what's below the Spodic layer?

21
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Drought in the Amazon
« on: April 07, 2024, 09:21:01 PM »
We are much drier than normal as well. Here it seems to me as if the dry season is kind of typical but we don’t get a proper rainy season. So, it makes it hard to plant but our production has been great. We just finished a very good cacao harvest I’m getting lots of black pepper, our Mamey, canistel, and sapodilla have been pumping. Just waiting for the durian and mangosteen flowering now.
When I say dry I mean that we are getting about 80” of yearly rain with distribution through the year. It’s dry for us but grass is still green where you don’t water. It’s the same in Panama, the canal is having big problems. We used to get an average of 150” sometimes going up to 220” per year.
It’s also hotter with less rain.
Peter

That sounds a lot like here. Today was another good example, the sky got black to the north, and some big gusts picked up and knocked over some banana plants, I could see rain in the mountains on the way, and it looked like we were about to get blasted by a big thunderstorm or something, but then we didn't even get a millimeter of drizzles. Then later today it happened again, the clouds started building up to the east, and the sky got very dark, all around. Then over the course of the next half hour, I watched as all the clouds basically disintegrated, and we received no precipitation. Sunset was a cloudless sky. I've observed that sort of thing a lot over the course of the past 1.5 years. Looks like deliberate weather modification.

Last night we somehow managed to squeeze out 9mm of rain before midnight, which really surprised me, because yesterday's sunset was also cloudless. We have been getting enough rain, barely. Doesn't feel like we've had any excess this year. It seems like it has been constantly flirting with drought this past year.

22
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Drought in the Amazon
« on: April 07, 2024, 09:13:51 PM »
I am quite curious to see how the hurricane season stacks up in the Atlantic
with such warm water conditions this year, apparently will be a doozy.

2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season Could Be One Of Most Active On Record, CSU Outlook Says
https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/2024-04-04-hurricane-season-outlook-april

The various online news reporting entities are predicting a more active Atlantic hurricane
season for 2024, with:

named storms       23
hurricanes             11
major hurricanes     5

It is of course unknown at present how many could make landfall in the US or in other
areas. Fingers X-ed that the fewest of these possible storms affect us rather than many.

Paul M.
==
I've read that El niño is typically associated with less rain in the Amazon basin. Maybe the active hurricane season can somehow produce more rain for us at the extreme western end of the basin during what would typically be our dry season?

23
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Drought in the Amazon
« on: April 06, 2024, 10:12:18 PM »
Just wondering if any of this made it onto the radar of the media in the USA?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JFx_xGhugU

It looks like things are shaping up to be even worse this year. March is typically the rainiest month of the year here, and it turned out to be a huge disappointment. Way below normal. Haven't been too impressed so far with April either. My wife's from a village where the river (the Huallaga) overflows typically in March and April. It hasn't even come close this year. We need to start getting a lot of rain for that to happen, but the problem is May & June is typically the start of the dry season.

I've seen a huge difference here just since we moved here. Something's off about it. The way we used to get rain all day or all night. Now we might get the same sort of clouds, but we're lucky if they drop more than a millimeter. I've heard a lot of people comment this year about how there's hardly any coffee, and It's been a long time since we had a big rain event. I installed a rain gauge last year in July, which is the middle of the dry season. The biggest rain event between then and now was back in October:  3.52 inches.

The way it fails to rain often is a little unnerving. This area will be in big trouble if things don't change.

24
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Florida Natural Farming?
« on: April 04, 2024, 11:46:48 AM »
No question that mycorrhizae and symbiotic root fungi is vitally important for nutrient uptake and there a many species and specialist associations. My scepticism was regarding the ability of systems and specific plants to unlock meaningful volumes of plant nutrients in existing minerals and even rock flour it its added. You need to be careful with fodder plants which are frequently serious weeds. Buffel, Brachiara and leucaena are bad news in many areas. Mowing once a year? I have to strain the mower through 12 inch wet shagpile like dense grass every fortnight.

When I first got into horticulture I heard things like, "growing plants! How hard can that be? Just put them in dirt and give em water."

I think it's possible what you're asking about. I've seen large trees in many places growing out of rocks, so it's not like there's some large volume of soil that they are tapping into.

I don't think anyone has all the answers. In my opinion a lot of regenerative/biological farming types like to predate on the wishful thinking of people in that space with anecdotal, untested, unproven products and approaches. Their audience cuts them too much slack. It's refreshing to read posts like pineislander's above post. It's not a religion. Growing plants is like anything, on the surface it seems simple, but when you take a deep dive into the rabbit hole and go ever further into the nitty gritty, it's more complicated than brain surgery.

Oh yeah. Once a year. I think we even did 1.5 years in some areas. Some places have 12 foot tall grass. We use high-powered Maruyama weedwackers with brush blades. I'd like to find some sort of brush hog, but it's not practical in this context.

25
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Florida Natural Farming?
« on: March 28, 2024, 10:24:09 PM »
Epiphyte, thank you for the info on germination and the offer of seeds, maybe I'll take you up on it one day.

Satya, watched your video.  Thank you for sharing, I've been off the forum for awhile, but will be updating posts on my projects soon.  My favorite posts on the forum are when people share how and what they are growing and especially when I get to see photos of all the different growing spaces and plants.  So want to contribute to the forum in that way as well.

I consider wood chip or chop and drop mulch and living mulch both important in how I grow. 

Mulch is beneficial for a number of reasons that we are all familiar with like protecting the soil and holding in moisture. 

Living plants used as a living mulch may even be more beneficial if you have the right plants for your growing conditions.  Not only does it provide ground cover and protection holding moisture, it's the root exudates on growing plants that feed the soil microorganisms in the rhizosphere buffering pH and turning minerals into a usable form by plant roots.  Plants capture carbon and contribute to the hydrologic cycle.  It seems counterintuitive but I've found that plants in groups hold moisture longer and grow better together.  There are exceptions of course, finding the right plants that don't dominate. 

The science of soil microbiology is evolving rapidly.  What seemed like settled science just a few years ago are being challenged.  There's a lot of fascinating stuff happening beneath our feet.  Many are aware now how important mycorrhizal fungi are.  There are also studies finding that roots exude light underground, why are they sending out light waves in the darkness of the earth?   The more people that start growing in a way that protects and supports our soil, the closer we get to growing to our potential.

Janet

This is a great question. Which offers the better net benefit? The living plants that use nutrients and may even have allelopathic effects like a lot of pasture grasses? Or the traditional orchard management of mow & mulch?

In our pasture I think the grass might even offer a better net benefit despite its allelopathic effect. The roots are pretty deep and are able to mine nutrients from aluminum toxic subsoil that many of the tree species' roots are not even able to grow in. They help add soil organic matter to the profile via root exudates.

The grass is not that bad in my opinion. We have been able to let ours go for over 12 months at a time between mowings. I actually think it's worse to have other plants, because then you end up with more challenging plants like kudzu and calopogonium or even spiny plants. We have some areas where the grass never established well, and those areas are more of a pain, with woody weeds growing.

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