A new tree fruit specialist has arrived at Oregon State University Extension just in time for the cherry and pear growing seasons.
Mateus Pasa was hired in April at the OSU Mid-Columbia Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Hood River, Ore. A native of Brazil, Pasa spent four years as a research pomologist at the Santa Catarina Agricultural Research and Extension Center in São Joaquim.
Though he primarily worked with apples during his time in Santa Catarina, Pasa will be responsible for finding ways to improve fruit set and production for pears and cherries in the Columbia River Gorge.
“The growers and the fruit industry are very supportive,” Pasa said. “I’m working to help them fix their main problems, and to get better and more efficient and make their orchards more profitable.”
Pasa is no stranger to the region. During his doctorate program, he spent a year at MCAREC working with Todd Einhorn studying the effects of prohexadione calcium — a chemical used to thin trees and reduce fire blight — on the growth of pears.
Pasa now leads the cherry and pear research program at MCAREC, along with Ashley Thompson, who was also hired in April. Pasa said they will continue to develop new rootstocks that allow for planting orchards in higher densities, paving the way for more mechanization and reduced labor costs.
“We need to think ahead and reduce the need for labor,” Pasa said.
Pasa can be reached at MCAREC at 541-386-2030, ext. 38216, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.