Strawberries are definitely not an easy crop and CEA technologies can always help us to provide ideal conditions to improve production window, yield per area and fruit quality. Growers are finding out the great benefits of growing strawberries using the help of CEA. This is the reason why now hydroponic greenhouse production of strawberries is growing rapidly across the world. The present guide has the objective to provide specific information about how to grow strawberries in a hydroponic system inside greenhouses.Continue reading Free Download: The Guide for Growing Strawberries
By Karla García
Strawberries (Fragaria × ananassaDuch.) are an important crop grown in the U.S. with a market value of more than $2.2 billion dollars, producing 1.12 million tons of strawberries in 2019. Most production of strawberries in the U.S. is done in open fields. In the U.S., year-round production is achieved by shifting production between regions across California and Florida. Recently U.S. growers are confronting challenges in open field production. In California, where more than 90% of the total strawberry production is done, annual acreage for strawberries is getting lower due to prolonged drought periods in the field; also, dry weather is increasing pests, making it challenging to manage and control diseases (Green, 2014). Another challenge of U.S. production is the emergence of strong competitors in the strawberry market, Mexico and China.Continue reading The Advantages of CEA in Strawberry Production
Sudlac’s initial experiments appear to demonstrate the benefits of applying Transpar ahead of the strawberry season in order to optimise PAR light while reducing infra-red.Continue reading Sudlac first promising results for the application of Transpar ahead of the strawberry season
In horticulture there are always challenges when growing a crop. One of the most common challenges faced by growers is the risk of pest incidence on their crop. But, how can we prevent pests? How can we control an infected crop?
By Karla Garcia and Deidre Hughes
Root zone environment is directly related to our crop growth, development and health. Therefore it is very important to understand what is going on underneath our plants.Continue reading Mastering Rootzone Environment
All crops have specific light requirements. By knowing minimum and optimum levels of light for our crop we can manage our environment to improve crop performance. When the ambient light exposure is below the minimum requirements we need to apply supplemental lighting in order to maintain our crop production at a healthy and consistent pace.Continue reading Mastering Light Management: Optimizing Crop Performance
While Grodan rockwool may be more often associated with greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers, controlled environment growers are quickly learning that this substrate is an ideal choice for specialty crop production.Continue reading Growers use Grodan rockwool to produce specialty crops
Hort Americas has the products and technical expertise you need to grow strawberries in controlled-environment, hydroponic production systems.
Strawberries are a high value crop recognized for their flavor, color and nutrient content. However, growing strawberries can be a challenge.
The Organic Produce Network and Nielsen report sales of organic fresh produce items approached $5 billion in 2017, an 8 percent increase from the previous year. Nearly 2 billion pounds of organic produce were sold in grocery stores last year, which is a 10 percent volume increase from 2016.
At U.S. retail stores, sales of organic fresh vegetables were $2.4 billion. Organic fresh fruit sales exceeded $1.6 billion. Sales of nearly $1 billion in organic value-added produce items brought total sales to $4.8 billion in 2017.
In 2017 organic packaged salad was again the leading organic fresh produce item, approaching $1 billion in sales. Packaged salad still accounts for one in five organic dollars.
Topping the sales in organic fruit were berry crops, which saw a 22 percent increase in volume sales. Organic berry sales, which include strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, topped $586 million in 2017.
High tunnels can be a part of a production system that allows growers to produce berries year-round while improving fruit yields and quality.
Scientists and IT developers at North Carolina State University are creating an online diagnostic tool that will assist strawberry growers in determining and resolving crop-related issues.
are creating a web-based interactive diagnostic key for growers. It will have application to both outdoor- and indoor-produced strawberries throughout the United States.
The key will be accessible through users’ computers, tablets and smart phones. It will be available through the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Strawberry Growers Information website.
Brian Whipker, professor of floriculture–research and extension, who heads up the project, said the key
is based on attributes.
|The strawberry diagnostic tool being developed at North Carolina State University covers 88 different attributes, including nutritional disorders such as boron toxicity (top) and iron deficiency (bottom).
Whipker said the key allows users to narrow down the problem identification by using a series of filters.
Whipker said the key template that was used for the strawberry diagnostic tool would have application to other crops.
For more: Brian Whipker, North Carolina State
University, Department of Horticultural Science; firstname.lastname@example.org.
A team effort
Hannah Burrack, Department of Entomology
Frank Louws and Barbara Shew, Department of Plant Pathology
Rob Ladd (developer) and Rhonda Conlon, Extension Information Technology
David Kuack is a freelance technical writer in Fort Worth, Texas; email@example.com.
Research at Michigan State University has shown that high tunnels can extend the season, increase yields and reduce the disease losses of berry crops.
University of Arkansas researchers gear up to look at
better ways to grow strawberries in controlled environment production
Research Centre Hoogstraten (Proefcentrum Hoogstraten) in Belgium, hosted a
tour for University of Arkansas horticulture researchers. The Research Centre
conducts studies on strawberries, tomatoes and peppers. Gerson Van’t Wout, import/export
manager at Hort Americas, joined the tour and filed this report.
Van Delm (left), coordinator of strawberry
research at Research Centre
with University of Arkansas horticulture professor
Evans about the strawberry research being
done at the Belgian facility.
The University of Arkansas researchers were at the Research
Centre to look at the various aspects of strawberry production being studied.
Although many of the systems being used to produce strawberries, including the
use of gutters, drip irrigation, fertigation and supplemental lighting are
similar to what American greenhouse vegetable growers are currently using,
Van’t Wout said that there are differences in how the crops are grown. He said
there will be a learning curve for U.S. growers who want to add
greenhouse-grown strawberries to their product mix.
strawberry production systems,
including NFT troughs, are being studied at
Centre Hoogstraten in Belgium.
Belgian strawberry growers who have switched to greenhouse
production have had an easier time controlling environmental factors including
temperature, humidity and light levels. They also are better able to manage
irrigation, pests and diseases. Van’t Wout said most of the Belgian growers who
have not made the switch to greenhouse production are the ones who have been
doing field production for a long time and are comfortable with that method.
management, lighting research
Van’t Wout said that Belgian strawberry breeders are not
hybridizing strawberries specifically for greenhouse production. When a new
variety is introduced by the breeders, he said researchers and growers will try
to produce it in various controlled environment and outdoor growing situations.
Van’t Wout said U.S. greenhouse growers should be able to adapt Belgian-bred strawberries
to their production systems.
growers are thrips and spider mites. Several trials are being conducted at the
Research Centre with natural enemies, including predatory mites, to determine
their effectiveness on controlling these pests.
light bulbs with LEDs, including Philips GreenPower LED flowering lamp. Van
Delm said that strawberry trials have shown that deep red/white/far red LEDs
are “an effective and energy-efficient replacement” for incandescent bulbs.
research at Research Centre Hoogstraten
in Belgium has included the use of LEDs
incandescent bulbs for greenhouse production.
Gerson Van’t Wout, Hort Americas LLC, firstname.lastname@example.org; https://hortamericas.com.
National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative, http://strawberry.uark.edu. Research
Centre Hoogstraten (Proefcentrum Hoogstraten), http://www.proefcentrum.be/en.
Visit our corporate website at https://hortamericas.com
Hort Americas attended the “Starting Your Urban Farm”
workshop in April in Fort Worth, Texas. Presented by Texas A&M AgriLife
Extension, the workshop started with a webinar by Texas A&M University
extension vegetable specialist Joseph Masabni. He discussed the basic requirements needed to start an urban farm including a plentiful water supply,
adequate soil type and desirable environment.
Masabni said one of the major pitfalls to operating a
successful urban farm is the lack of a marketing strategy. Since most produce
is perishable, it is critical that a grower have a marketing plan developed before
a crop is planted. He said development of markets and market plans are the
first steps necessary for profitable production. Because market windows are
narrow and precise, Masabni said growers need more options to sell their
products. Market-related questions that need to be answered include:
The second part of the workshop was a tour of Gnismer
Farms in Dalworthington Gardens, Texas. Owned by Lynn and Cynthia Remsing, the husband
and wife team farm 6 acres producing a variety of crops including asparagus, strawberries,
lettuce, cantaloupes, onions, rhubarb, kohlrabi, cabbage, potatoes, watermelons
|Lynn Remsing, owner of Gnismer Farms, uses
plant compost to grow his crops. He doesn’t use
any animal manures.
Lynn Remsing said having the right soil is critical. He
composts wood chips he receives free from the local power company along with
grass clippings. He doesn’t use any animal manure.
Not wanting to be dependent on inconsistent and limited rainfall,
Remsing uses Netafim irrigation tape and black plastic mulch. During the hot
Texas summers when temperatures can easily exceed 100ºF, Remsing said using the mulch allows him to water
every 14 days. Remsing said he is working with Texas A&M to trial a double
layer of plastic mulch to determine its effect on production.
|Gnismer Farms in cooperation with Texas A&M
University researchers is trialing a double layer
of plastic mulch to determine its impact on crop
production, including strawberries and lettuce.
Remsing is setting up another 360-acre farm in Waco,
Texas. To ensure that he has enough water for irrigation, he is installing a
couple of 40,000 gallon water tanks.
Some of the “tips” that Remsing offered workshop
attendees included: be willing to mechanize when possible, look for ways to
conserve water, don’t try to operate a farm on a shoestring and look for ways
to be able to sell your products before your competitors.
Gnismer Farms, http://gnismer.com.
Visit our corporate website at https://hortamericas.com
are looking at implementing some type of protected environment production.
University of Florida-IFAS associate professor Danielle Treadwell said producers
are looking at a variety of structures including greenhouses, high tunnels and
hoop houses. She said some producers are looking at taking a portion of their
field acreage and adding covered production.
said producers are looking to take advantage of new or expanding markets for
specialty crops. Other producers plan to extend the season for crops that can
be damaged by freezing temperatures. Some producers are looking for
opportunities to expand their product mix with organically-grown crops.
for the construction of greenhouses, but that water is also a key factor.
houses, producers are looking for water savings through better freeze
protection,” Treadwell said. “When there is a freeze in Florida the protection
is coming from overhead irrigation. A single farm can use millions of gallons
of water per freeze event. Producers of high value crops like blueberries and
strawberries are exploring high tunnel production to moderate the temperatures
under these structures and to apply less water.
water use,” she said. “They want to be ready. There are 18 million people in
the state so there is a high demand for water.”
in organic production
and inputs are looking at taking advantage of the increased demand for organic
products. Treadwell said some of these producers have customers asking for
these products while others are looking to diversify their product mix. She
said this has led to producers asking suppliers for organic fertilizers
specifically for their crops.
fertilizers,” Treadwell said. “Some companies that have historically served
conventional farmers are now expanding their offerings because their customers
management strategies such as biological pest controls should have an easier
time converting to an organic production system.
using biological controls,” she said. “There are very few controls approved for
use with conventional pesticides and even less for growing organically. When
you have an organic system in the greenhouse you have to rely on biological
controls. If you have an established biological program in the greenhouse you
are good to go. Through the efforts of university
and the producers we have done it and we have done it well here in Florida for
a number of years.”
production and who already have a biological pest management system in place
should only have the fertilizer program to work out.
nutrients are transformed at a pace that the plants need–that’s the
challenge,” Treadwell said. “It’s finding that sweet spot of which fertilizer
to use, what analysis, and really honing down that application strategy.”
custom mix dry granular as well as soluble fertilizers that are compliant with
the USDA’s National Organic Standards.
that does custom mixes and start experimenting to determine the best blend for
their crops. Then the next step is to put together a system of mixing tanks,
injectors and emitters that will deliver the fertilizer without clogging.”
fertilizer solution that is needed. Holding the fertilizer solution at high
temperatures in the greenhouse can increase the rate of biological activity and
negatively impact the quality of the products.
to try to keep the fertilizer solution cool for a longer period of time. These
have included placing pop-up canopies over the tanks and injectors in the
greenhouses, wrapping the fertilizer tanks in reflective Mylar mulch and
submerging the fertilizer tanks in kiddy pools that contain recirculated well
plant- and animal-based nutrients with some minerals added in, these liquids
are suspended particulates in solution,” Treadwell said. “It’s not like
ammonium nitrate, which is a salt with ions that truly dissolve in water.”
solutions can be an issue.
easy for algae to grow so it’s really important to flush the injectors well
after applying the fertilizer solution.”
toll on fertilizer injectors.
of multiple ingredients, the availability of individual ingredients may occur
at different rates. For this reason, she said, producers need to pay attention
to electrical conductivity levels during the season to have a better
understanding of release rates.
salts, Treadwell said a limiting factor for certified organic fertilizers can
be the amount of nitrogen they contain.
analysis available for dry granular fertilizers is around 15 percent,” she
said. “For solutions, the highest nitrogen analysis is around 5 percent. If
it’s greater than 15 or 5 percent, producers need to be sure that the
fertilizer is USDA compliant before they use it. That means a producer has to
apply quite a large volume of fertilizer in order to sustain the rapid growth
of the plants in a greenhouse because the temperatures are hot and the plants
are growing fast. It can be a little tricky, but it can be done. It just
requires a lot of management.”
and liquid fertilizers is helpful.
growing media using the granular forms and then supplementing with the liquid
form periodically through the season depending on the plants’ needs,” she said.
Danielle Treadwell, University of Florida, Department of Horticultural Sciences, (352) 273-4775; email@example.com.
technical writer in Fort Worth, Texas, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of Florida has produced a series of online
educational videos called Virtual Field
Day (http://vfd.ifas.ufl.edu/). The videos present information on a variety
of topics (hydroponic production systems, soilless media, nutrient solution
delivery, pest management, harvesting and marketing) with visual support
including instructional how-tos. One of videos was made by associate professor
Danielle Treadwell who discusses the use
of organic fertilizers (http://virtualfieldday.ifas.ufl.edu/gainesville/organic_produce/selecting_fertility_media.shtml)
in greenhouse vegetable production.Visit our corporate website at https://hortamericas.com