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2018 Annual Strawberry Production Research Meeting - First Call

Announcing the 2018 UCCE Annual Strawberry Production Research meeting.  Event will be held February 1 at the Watsonville Elk's Lodge and features a really good and interesting line up of speakers covering topics from fumigation alternatives, soil pathology, irrigation,  and nitrogen management.

Agenda below - hold the date!


Posted on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 at 3:07 PM

Mark Makes the Front Page of the Santa Cruz Sentinel

Sort of surprised this morning to see my name included in a feature article on strawberry farming and rainwater runoff, especially from fields on steep hillsides.



My quotes are from an interview that happened a loooong time ago, but still they are pretty apropos in my mind.

One of the things when you talk with a Farm Advisor is that you get straight answers, and in this case yes it is true that strawberry bed plastic is an essential part of strawberry farming, no two ways around it.  I am fully aware what this plastic does as far as impeding soil water absorption and Michael Cahn, Richard Smith and I looked into mitigating this a few years ago (see article below), but the fact of the matter it's still a lot of water coming down that hill when it rains and it has to go somewhere.



The math for the "Olympic size swimming pool" volume of water coming off of a 30 acre field comes from here:

One acre inch of rain = 27154 gal water x 30 acres = 814620 gallons

Volume water in Olympic size swimming pool 25 m x 50 m x 2 m = 660430 gallons

Assuming some loss from ground absorption and so yeah it's about a big pool's worth of water.



Posted on Sunday, December 3, 2017 at 11:15 AM

Opportunity for a Deep Dive on Botrytis Gray Mold

Thanks to Gerald Holmes and Scott Cosseboom from the CalPoly Strawberry Center, this coming December 13 we will be hosting Guido Schnabel, a worldwide expert on the Botrytis gray mold, which has vexed berry growers for decades. 

Along with offering 3 hours of continuing education, it will be an opportunity to really take a deep dive on a very important pest. 

Area growers of all commodities are invited to attend. See you there!

Meeting agenda pdf posted below.

Nuts and Bolts of Gray Mold and Fungicide Resistance
Nuts and Bolts of Gray Mold and Fungicide Resistance

Posted on Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 2:14 PM

One Time Only: Former Entomology Advisor Back in Town for Seminar

Our former Entomology Advisor Shimat Joseph will be back in town and presenting at a one time only seminar. Updates on his work here before he left in July - berry folks think lygus - will be presented.

This will be rounded out with an update on where we are headed with our pyrethroids and neonicotinoid insecticides provided by Kean Goh from the CDPR.


I'll be there, this is not to be missed!


Posted on Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 1:57 PM

Delving Deeper into the Concept of Supplemental Chill

Supplemental chill, also known as cold conditioning, takes place after harvest of the transplants, which have gone dormant because of their exposure to the decreasing daylength and lower temperatures of the nursery fields of Northern California where they are grown. Postharvest supplemental chill occurs in a constant near freezing temperature, in the dark and when the transplant has no to very few leaves left on it.

What supplemental chill is actually doing is breaking (reversing) plant dormancy, which sets into motion a series of metabolic events in the plant resulting in a promotion of vegetative growth and inhibition of new inflorescence formation. Petioles grow longer, leaf blades get bigger and more runners are formed as dormancy is broken through supplemental chill. All of this is consistent with the industry understanding that a longer period of supplemental chill results in more plant vigor, again meaning more vegetative growth and less fruiting. The challenge for the berry grower is to strike a balance between the vigor of vegetative growth and the fruiting which is greatly desired.

Growers already know this, but berry cultivars vary greatly in their sensitivity to the dormancy breaking supplemental chill. Generally speaking, short day strawberry varieties need very little – something on the order of one to three days - to break dormancy and in fact most become tremendously vegetative when chilled in excess over the recommended few days.  In contrast, day neutral varieties need substantially more days of chill, most often in the range of one to two weeks, to develop the normal balance of vigor and fruiting following planting.  Since longer periods of chill are associated with greater vegetative vigor, organic growers tend to chill their plants longer before planting, in the range of 30% longer, so as to enable the plant to handle less hospitable soil environments.

Posted on Friday, November 17, 2017 at 2:59 PM

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