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Agricultural Counselor Bob Hoff visits Tacuarembo, Rivera, and La Estanzuela

The field visit covered nearly seven hundred miles of major agricultural and livestock producing areas in northeast and southwestern Uruguay

Posted: January 28, 2005

From January 19-21, 2005, FAS Agricultural Counselor Bob Hoff, Agricultural Specialist Ken Joseph, and Marketing Specialist Maria Julia Balbi, stationed in Embassy Buenos Aires, carried out a field visit, covering close to seven hundred miles (over one thousand kilometers), in major agricultural and livestock producing areas in northeast and southwest Uruguay. Their first stop was at the National Agricultural and Livestock Research Institute (INIA) experimental station in Tacuarembo, followed by a visit to the Carrau Winery in Cerro Chapeu, department of Rivera. FAS Buenos Aires personnel ended their field visit at the INIA experimental station in La Estanzuela, located in the department of Colonia.

INIA’s experimental station in Tacuarembo, one of five located throughout Uruguay, focuses its research on livestock, pastures, and forestry, which are of critical importance to the regional economy. INIA officials noted, though, that soybean plantings have increased exponentially over the last few years. For the 2005 crop season, however, drought-like conditions have prevailed, and the outlook for the soybean crop in the department of Tacuarembo did not look promising. Forestation projects have also increased in number, stimulated by incentives provided by the Uruguayan Government. These forestation projects typically are located in areas of the department characterized by sandy soils.

Carrau Wineries, which is headquartered in Montevideo, opened a winery in Cerro Chapeu, department of Rivera, on the border with Brazil, in 1998. This winery is endowed with some of the most modern technology available, and has a design, which optimizes space, and maximizes quality. Close to 60 percent of the wine is aged in barrels made of U.S. oak. The winery is surrounded by vineyards, which grow, in the main, Tannat, Chardonay, and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. The sandy soils facilitate drainage. When this winery reaches full capacity, according to Director Javier Carrau, it will export 80 percent of its production. Principal export markets are the U.S., Canada, the European Union, and Brazil.

The INIA experimental station in La Estanzuela, Colonia, was founded in 1914. As with the INIA experimental station in Tacuarembo, its personnel are highly trained, a number with advanced degrees from U.S. universities. INIA focuses its mission on research in row crops such as soybeans and wheat, and provides consulting services, for a fee, to area growers. It also has an office, which tracks changes in Uruguay’s climate. It has had a scientific exchange agreement with USDA since 2000, and works closely with the Universidad de la Republica, in Uruguay, and the University of Minnesota.

[U.S. Embassy photo by APHIS
Agricultural Counselor Bob Hoff in Rivera
U.S. Embassy photo by APHIS
Carrau Wineries vineyards at Cerro Chapeu in Rivera

U.S. Embassy photo by APHIS
Javier Carrau, Director of Carrau Wineries

U.S. Embassy photo by APHIS
The INIA experimental station in Tacuarembo

U.S. Embassy photo by APHIS
Andres Lavecchia, Diego Risso, Bob Hoff, and M. Julia Balbi at
the INIA station in Tacuarembo

U.S. Embassy photo by APHIS
Agricultural Counselor Bob Hoff at the INIA experimental station in La Estanzuela, Colonia

U.S. Embassy photo by APHIS
Sunflower field at the La Estanzuela INIA station


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