1 - IMPORTANT: RUNNER REMOVAL IN PLASTICULTURE STRAWBERRY PRODUCTION
Plasticulture strawberry production has continued to grow in popularity in North America in recent years. For new growers or those converting from matted-row production, runner removal can seem a costly practice. However it is essential to optimize fruit production.
Runners act as an energy sink on their monther plant, reducing resources that support fruit bud development. They also interfere with cultivation and pest control. Runner reduction increases berry size and fruit numbers per plant.
A trial conducted in Ontario showed that runner removal (once, three times and weekly for two months) increased both total yield and marketable yield of spring planted ‘Albion’ during the planting year. This included a 37% - 45% increase in total yields of derunnered plants over plants with no runner removal.
Similarly, a study in the Netherlands saw a 15% increase in planting year yields of derunnered plants, but a decrease in yields on plants with leaf removal. This increased yield was compared to the total yield of plants where no runners were removed, and these runners contributed to the total yield of the plants.
Runner removal should be done regularly, as often as weekly, but even removing runners just three times during the season can increase yields compared to only one removal or no removal.
2 - USING CONSUMER INSIGHT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
Data shows that 93% of consumers have used online reviews to guide purchases, and 81% of consumers use Google to evaluate local businesses before visiting. Today, there are countless platforms available for customers to leave reviews; Google, Dave’s Garden, Yelp, Facebook, TripAdvisor, Better Business Bureau, to name a few.
Good or bad, these reviews can be used to your advantage.
• Harness the power of positive reviews by showcasing them in your catalog and on your website. Tell customers where they can find reviews and encourage satisfied customers to post reviews of their own.
• Use common words or phrases from positive reviews in taglines on your website, driving more customers to your page.
• Negative reviews can be useful tools in determining where you may be falling short on satisfying customers. Use these reviews as an opportunity to improve on products or processes that may not be working for you. Include customer feedback in your employee trainings.
• Engage with customer reviews. Take advantage of the opportunity to offer a solution to an unhappy customer and built rapport with happy customers.
Reviews are out there, and we believe that paying attention to consumer insights is an indisputable benefit to any business.
3 - Maximizing Herbicide Effectiveness
Many factors impact the effectiveness of herbicides.
• Sprayer calibration is important. Be sure your spray tips are not worn, as that will result in uneven application. Some labels call for 3 ounces of material: a small amount in a 100-gallon tank. Proper calibration assures that you are applying enough, but not too much. Your sprayer manufacturer or your local Extension Service will have guidelines for calibrating your sprayer properly.
• The pH and water quality of your spray water will also affect performance of herbicides. There are many kits to test water’s pH; better kits will provide a more accurate reading. Your herbicide’s label will also indicate the correct pH for the most effective results. High levels of calcium and magnesium in hard water can negatively impact effectiveness; there are a variety of products available to soften water.
• Avoid overlapping when applying herbicides.
Referring to the 3 ounces in the first item, overlapping doubles the rate. This could result in crop injury.
• Be aware of wind conditions. Herbicide drift can cause damage to a neighboring crop. Do not apply when wind is above 5 miles an hour.
• Follow safety rules as outlined on product label to ensure proper PPE (Person Protective Equipment) and re-entry interval. Be cautious when mixing, and making spray applications.
• Properly identify your predominant weeds and their growth stage. Herbicides can have different levels of effectiveness based on the weed stage. Consult the label for the appropriate growth stage for application.
4 - OXIDATE ON SWD
Numerous studies over several years have demonstrated the efficacy of OxiDate® 2.0 and OxiDate® 5.0 on many pathogens on multiple crops: powdery mildew on grapes and strawberries, yellow rust on red raspberries, and anthracnose on blueberries. Adding OxiDate 5.0 to a spray program reduces disease in the field, and also improves control of spotted wing drosophila (SWD) in these small fruit crops. In a study conducted by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada on SWD, OxiDate 2.0 indirectly contributed to the control of SWD 1. Applying OxiDate 2.0 prior to Malathion reduced larvae, pupae, and adult SWD on cherries better than applying Malathion first, or no treatment at all. By reducing microbial populations (yeasts, bacteria) on the surfaces of fruit, OxiDate 2.0 likely improved the efficacy of the insecticides and deterred oviposition 2.
In 2013, Cornell University labs demonstrated that a 1% (v/v) solution of OxiDate 2.0 on blueberries had a direct impact on controlling eggs, adult SWD, and larval presence in berries by 56% 3. Here, OxiDate 2.0 burned eggs lying on the fruit surface and burned breathing tubes of eggs under the fruit surface 4. Another study at Cornell University demonstrated that applying antimicrobials such as OxiDate 2.0 with
insecticides during grape ripening significantly controls sour rot better than using OxiDate 2.0 alone or insecticide alone 5. Sour rot can be difficult to control because it results from multiple microbes, including yeasts and bacteria, and is spread by SWD; using simultaneous treatments can cover all the bases more effectively.
The best SWD management plan is an aggressive sequence of effective chemistry that protects plants and fruit from all channels of infestation. Often, one chemistry isn’t enough; adding microbial elements to a spray program strengthens all your defensive protections. Both OxiDate 2.0 and OxiDate 5.0 provide additional control of SWD populations in fruit and berry crops by working in tandem with insecticides. PAA (Peracetic Acid) products like OxiDate can reduce SWD populations by burning eggs’ breathing tubes. Reducing desirable yeasts on the surface of the berries deprives SWD of their food source and prohibits the yeasts from breaking down the insecticide, increasing insecticide longevity. The addition of OxiDate 2.0 or OxiDate 5.0 to a typical spray program can enhance disease control as well as SWD control, improving fruit quality at harvest.
5 - Storage & Holding of Dormant Plants
Here at Nourse Farms, we pack, hold, and ship our plants in their dormant stage for spring planting. Our plants perform best when planted into warm soil, after the risk of hard frost has passed. When growers receive plants, they should plant within 2 - 3 days of receipt. So, what do you do when they are received when conditions may not be suitable for immediate planting?
For a short duration, up to 7 - 10 days, plants can be held in a standard walk-in cooler at 35ºF - 40ºF. For durations longer than 10 days, plants must be held at a consistent 28ºF to maintain dormancy. If plants cannot be held at temperature, they should be potted. Potted plants should be allowed to root well before transplanting to reduce shock.
Upon receipt, check the condition of the plants. Bareroot strawberry and raspberry plants are shipped in a plastic bag with moistened shredded paper added to prevent the roots from drying out. Check that paper has not dried and moisten slightly if necessary. Asparagus plants are susceptible to storage molds and should be kept dry. If mold is noticed at receipt, remove the crowns from the box and lay them out in a single layer, out of direct sunlight. After 2 - 3 hours, they can be put back into the box and moved into cold storage.
1, 2 Murali-Mohan Ayyanath, Cheryl L. Zurowski, Ian M. Scott, and
Kenna E. MacKenzie. 2017. Report on the Effect of OxiDate 2.0 for Suppressing
Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura) Populations. Agriculture and
Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Summerland RDC, BC, Canada.
3 Jentsch, Peter J. et al. 2013. Evaluation BioSafe Products for
Controlling SWD on Blueberry. Cornell University’s Hudson Valley Laboratory,
Highland, NY 12528.
4 Jentsch, Peter J. and Lampasona, Tim. 2013. Evaluation BioSafe
Products for Controlling SWD on Blueberry. Cornell University’s Hudson
Valley Laboratory, Highland, NY 12528.
5 Megan E. Hall, Gregory M. Loeb, and Wayne F. Wilcox. 2018. Control
of Sour Rot Using Chemical and Canopy Management Techniques. Am.
J. Enol. Vitic. 69:4.