Source: UNIV OF WISCONSIN submitted to
TRANSITIONING TO ORGANIC DAY-NEUTRAL STRAWBERRY PRODUCTION IN THE UPPER MIDWEST - A SYSTEMS APPROACH
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
NEW
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
1027040
Grant No.
2021-51106-35490
Project No.
WIS04057
Proposal No.
2021-04813
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
112.E
Project Start Date
Sep 1, 2021
Project End Date
May 31, 2024
Grant Year
2021
Project Director
Atucha, A.
Recipient Organization
UNIV OF WISCONSIN
21 N PARK ST STE 6401
MADISON,WI 53715-1218
Performing Department
Horticulture
Non Technical Summary
The long-term goal of this multi-state and multi-disciplinary project is to increase and sustain organic day-neutral strawberry production in the Upper Midwest. This project addresses program Priority 4, developing practical information and tools to help producers overcome barriers to organic transition and Priority 1, understanding the effects of organic practices on weeds, pests and diseases for better management. Strawberries represent the largest fruit crop in MN and the third largest fruit crop in WI. However, organic strawberry production is negligible in the region, despite interest among growers, excess demand and premium prices for this product at local markets. A major limitation growers face in transitioning to organic strawberry production is linked to the perennial matted row production system almost exclusively used in the region for strawberry production, which increases weed, insect, and disease pressure over multiple seasons that are challenging to control with current organic practices. This project proposes to implement a systems approach to overcome challenges faced by growers when transitioning to organic strawberry production in the Upper Midwest by: 1) shifting from a perennial to an annual production system; 2) generating research-based information on organic-approved management practices to reduce insect, disease, and weed pressure; 3) evaluating insect and disease pressure during the growing cycle; and 4) determining the profitability on small-scale farms.
Animal Health Component
0%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
(N/A)
Applied
100%
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
20511221060100%
Knowledge Area
205 - Plant Management Systems;

Subject Of Investigation
1122 - Strawberry;

Field Of Science
1060 - Biology (whole systems);
Goals / Objectives
Thegoal of this project is to increase and sustain organic strawberry production in the Upper Midwest by: 1) transitioning from the traditional perennial matted row system to annual production system using day-neutral strawberry cultivars, 2) generating research-based information on organic-approved management practices for annual day-neutral strawberry production, and 3) evaluating the profitability of growing organic day-neutral strawberries.Specific Objectives are:Objective 1:Determine plant growth, yield, and fruit quality of day-neutral strawberries grown in four film-based mulches.Objective 2:Determine the impact of film-based mulches on insect pests and pollinators in strawberries.Objective 3: Evaluate the pressure of insect pests and diseases in day-neutral strawberry systems from planting to harvest.Objective 4:Estimate the break-even prices and farm-level profitability for organic day-neutral strawberries under low and high pest pressure.
Project Methods
Experimental Design-Randomized complete block split-plot consisting of four film-based mulch treatments as the main plot and two pest control treatments as split plots, replicated four times.Treatments-White on black polyethylene mulch;Black plastic polyethylene mulch;Reflective metallic polyethylene mulch;WeedGuardPlus cellulosic biodegradable maroon mulch.Objective 1:Determine plant growth, yield, and fruit quality of day-neutral strawberries grown in four film-based mulches.Dry biomass of strawberry plants will be determined the week after the conclusion of harvest. Plants per subplot will be harvested and separated by roots, leaves (petioles included) and dried at 70 °C for 5 days. Plant canopy diameter will be measured in a selection zone consisting of 28 plants in the center of each split plot replicate. Plant survival will be evaluated within the first 4 weeks after planting by counting the number of plants alive per plot replicate.Plots will be harvested twice each week, but only once each week for the first and last harvest weeks of each season, when yields are lower. During each harvest, all berries picked within a selection zone, consisting of the interior 28 plants within each split plot replicate, will be weighed for experimental unit yield. Unit yield from each of the two harvests a week will be combined to calculate weekly yield per unit. Twenty berries in each selection zone will be randomly selected, weighed, and divided by 20 to gauge average berry weight for that unit.Three fruit samples will be collected for quality analysis: early August, mid-September, and early October. Five berries from the selection zone of each treatment/pest control split plot will be selected randomly and measured for total soluble solidsand titratable acidityusing digital refractometer andtitration system, respectively.During three harvest dates during the growing season, 15 berries per treatment will be packed in plastic clamshells and stored at 4°C, 80- 85% RH for 15 days. Fruit temperature will be recorded for a subsample of the berries before storage. All fruit quality parameters will be analyzed during 0, 5, 10 and 15 days of interval. Fruit weight loss, fungal decay, and insect infestation (SWD larvae) will be recorded before and during each storage interval.Visual observations of rips, tears, and holes will be recorded to assess mulch deterioration, as percent visual cover (PVC) of the soil twice a month from planting to the end of harvest each year. PVC and weed cover will be determined using a 1 m2area grid in the same selection zone used for harvest and plant growth measurements. The scale of evaluation for mulch deterioration will consist of 100% rating for an intact mulch film.Objective 2:Determine impacts of film-based mulches on insect pests and pollinators in strawberriesMajor insect pests will be sampled including spotted-wing drosophila (SWD), tarnished plant bug (TPB) and thrips. Sampling will be done every other week frommid-July until the end of the harvest period. Berries will be collected from each non-sprayed plot and placed in plastic bags, macerated, and submerged in sugar water, larvae that float to the surface of the water will be counted. We will use vacuum samplingto capture adult and immature TPB, sampling from 25 plants in the center of each non-sprayed plot. Damage caused by TPB will be assessed once per week at harvest. Thrips will be sampled with blue sticky cards measuring 10 cm x 25 cm, containing dashed grids forming 1 cm^2 squares. Cards will be placed in each non-sprayed row approximately 10 m apart (2 cards/row).Sampling will occur every other week. Vacuum sampling will be conducted on flowers to assess the abundance and diversity of bees and abundance of syrphid flies present on flowers. Each unsprayed row will be vacuumed with handheld DC insect vacuum (BioQuip). Samples from each row will be bagged and frozen for later counting and identification to bee species in the laboratory. Syrphid flies will be counted but not identified to species. Direct observations (WI only) of insect visits on flowers will be conducted every other week on alternating weeks from vacuum sampling in each unsprayed row. Observations will consist of 10 min bouts focusing on five plants in the middle of each row.Objective 3:Evaluate insect and disease pressure and provide control recommendations in organic day-neutral strawberry systems. Number of symptomatic plants per treatment will be determined, and individual symptomatic plants will be assessed for disease type. For foliar diseases, number of lesions (spots) per leaf or number of blighted leaves will be enumerated for symptomatic plants. For fruit diseases, the number of symptomatic fruits will be quantified per plant. Belowground plant diseases will be quantified based on visual observation of aboveground symptoms (i.e., wilting).For fungal pathogens, Howlerand Regaliawill beused to controldiseases of day-neutral strawberries.For insects, sampling will be conducted weekly on ten plants in the middle of each row using visual inspections for damage symptoms, including number of clipped flower buds (strawberry bud weevil) and number of spittle masses (spittle bug). Sweep nets (tarnished plant bug), berry infestations via salt floats (spotted-wing drosophila), and in situ number of individuals per plant (thrips, spider mites, leafhoppers, sap beetles) will be assessed.Entrustand Pyganicwill beused to control populations based on established economic thresholds.Objective 4:Estimate the break-even prices and farm-level profitability for organic day-neutral strawberries under low and high pest pressure.Enterprise budgeting will be applied to explore the impact of production systems (perennial matted row or PMR vs. day-neutral strawberry or DNS), alternative mulches (film-based alternatives) and total marketable yield on strawberry profitability in the Upper Midwest.An enterprise budget will be developed for organic PMR strawberries using recommended material and labor inputs. A partial budget analysis will then be applied to the full enterprise budget to explore changes in strawberry cultivar (from PMR to DNS) and film-based mulch alternatives on net returns.A partial budget will be calculated for each of the mulch alternatives by measuring changes in variable costs such as the cost of plants, mulch and labor as well as changes in marketable yield. The partial budget will inherently capture the effects of a longer harvest season yield (6 weeks vs. 12 weeks) and seasonal changes in price as well as differences in the impact of pest, weed and disease pressure among the mulch alternatives. Borrowing information from the budgets, we will calculate break-even prices and test the robustness of the final results using a sensitivity analysis. The sensitivity analysis will explore the impact of price variation on net returns using wholesale and direct market pricing.Enterprise budget material input estimates will be pulled from the Farm Business Management regional, "Crop Enterprise Analysis, Strawberries, 2012-2018", and "Strawberries (PYO June-bearing) - Production Year Budget, 2014." Input costs will be updated using market values available at the time for mulch alternatives included in the study. Labor will be valued using the USDA NASS seasonal "Farm Labor" reports for the Midwest states. Yield data for the film-based mulch treatments will be compiled in Objective 1. Yields for traditional PMR systems will be obtained from field trials conducted in MN (Petran et al., 2017). Organic strawberry values will be quantified using seasonal weighted average retail price data available bi-weekly from USDA Agricultural Market News Service, "Weekly Advertised Fruit & Vegetable Prices, Midwest." Prices will be adjusted downward to reflect wholesale and farmers market pricing.

Progress 09/01/22 to 08/31/23

Outputs
Target Audience:Target audience is organic horticultural crop producers, new and existing strawberry producers, includes farmers from underrepresented audiences (Hmong producers). Changes/Problems:Material, labor, and other input data needed for the break-even analysis were provided by MN-WI field teams. Labor recorded by field teams for YR1 were compared with previous studies was found to be higher than anticipated, necessitating a re-evaluation of plot design, planting, plant maintenance, weeding and harvest protocols. Based on these preliminary findings, the field teams met in April 2023 to discuss and agreed on new protocols for YR2 of the study. Decisions were made to use a new seeding mix for the alleys between rows to reduce weeding labor, runner removal was standardized to 1 time per week, and marketable grades 1 & 2 would be combined since this is acceptable for local, organic markets. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? Nothing Reported How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?We published 16 news articles on insect and disease scouting for organic day-neutral strawberry production. These articles were published in the Wisconsin Fruit News that reaches over 800 subscribers. During 2023 we deliver a webinar through the Cold Climate Webinar Seriesorganized by UW-Madison, University of Minnesota, Iowa State University, and University of Illinois. Gullickson, M.G. and S. Slack. (2023) Day-neutral strawberries. High Tunnel Berry Production Webinar Series. University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin Extension. URL:https://youtu.be/UNtyMG2KJKk During this reporting period we delivered six oral presentations to stakeholders in the Upper Midwest and the Great Plains, including one to theHmong American Growers Association. Gullickson, M.G. and S. Slack. (2023) Day-neutral strawberries. High Tunnel Berry Production Webinar Series. University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin Extension. URL:https://youtu.be/UNtyMG2KJKk Gullickson, M. G. (2023) Day-neutral strawberries: Production and Pest Management. Hmong American Growers Association Annual Farmer Training. West Saint Paul, MN. Gullickson, M. G., and A. Klodd. (2023). Strawberry Production for the Beginning Grower. Minnesota Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. St. Cloud, MN, January 19, 2023. Rogers, M. (2023) Organic Management Strategies for Insect Pests in Small Fruit. UMN Dept. of Horticultural Science Seminar. St. Paul, MN April 19, 2023. Rogers, M. and DiGiacomo, G. (2023) Strawberry fields forever: Organic strawberry production for Minnesota growers. Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture Organic Conference. St. Cloud, MN January 6, 2023, (~30 people). Atucha, A. 2023.Organic day-neutral strawberry production. Great Plains Growers Conference. January 14, St. Joseph, MO. Miles-Kroening, J., Guedot, C., and Atucha, A (2023) "Organic Day-Neutral Strawberry production in the Upper Midwest" at the Wisconsin Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Annual Conference, held virtually on January 30, with 60 participants. The team hosted two field days, one at the West Madison Agricultural Research Station on August 31, 2023, with an attendance of about 25 growers, and a second field day at theUniversity of Minnesota Organic Field Day in St. Paul, MN on July 25, 2023,with an attendance of about 25 growers60 growers. For the field day hosted in Madison, WI we conducted a survey of attendees. Results from the survey showed that attendees gain knowledge on topics related to soil fertility, crop production, irrigation management, insect pest control, and disease scouting and management. Overall, attendees rated the field day excellent and reported that they would consider changing practices in their operation as a result of the information learned in the field day. The team developed two demonstration videos highlighting production practices including managing weeds (378 views) and mulch removal for organic day-neutral strawberry production (245 views). https://youtu.be/C4vZ9yz9c_k?si=Cp4vIjz9Lq0hdf_N https://youtu.be/ObCnhAOPm30?si=N9gpDlMjgpCTb36M During April 7 of 2023, we had our second meeting with our grower advisory board (first meeting took place November 18, 2021). During this meeting, the team members presented preliminary results for our first year of data (2022) and collected feedback from the board on how to improve our growing techniques. The board suggested to use a combination of organic rye grass and clover to plant in the alley way to reduce weed control labor, reduce the number of times runners are being tipped to once a week, and to change the source of organic fertilizer to a mix that has higher percentage of nitrogen. Overall, the grower advisory board was very enthusiastic about the project and was looking forward to the final report on this project. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?Data from objectives 1, 2 & 3 will be analyzed, and a peer-reviewed publication will be prepared for the Journal of IPM and HortScience (or similar) reporting on yield, fruit quality, plant growth, and the response of insect pest and beneficial insect populations to mulches in an organic day neutral strawberry system in the Upper Midwest region. Complete economic analysis for YR 2 data and combine with YR1 to obtain 2-year average break-even estimates. Using pest and yield estimates, a sensitivity analysis will be completed to explore how changes in pest thresholds ultimately affect break-even and overall profitability for the different mulches studied.A peer-reviewed journal article is planned. We will deliver talks at grower conferences in Wisconsin and Minnesota, as well as a poster presentation at the Marbleseed organic conference. A webinar series on Organic Day-neutral strawberry production will be hosted by the team during the spring of 2024 as part of the Cold Climate Fruit Webinar Series organized by UW-Madison, University of Minnesota, Iowa State University, and University of Illinois. We will host another meeting with our grower advisory boards in the spring of 2024, with the objective of providing them an overview of all activities completed and preliminary results of data analysis. We will also seek feedback on best way to reach as many stakeholders as possible to share the results of our studies.

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? Objective 1: Determine plant growth, yield, and fruit quality of day-neutralstrawberries grown in four film-based mulches. In 2023, plots were established in an organic transitioning field at the West Madison Agricultural Station in Madison, WI and the St. Paul , MN, Experiment Station of the University of Minnesota. Plots consisted of raised beds covered with various film-based mulches. Beds were built and covered with mulches on 5/2/23 and 5/5/23 in Madison and St. Paul, respectively. Mulch treatments included white on black plastic, black plastic, reflective plastic, and heavy-duty crepe paper, each replicated 4 times. Irrigation installation was completed on 5/5/23 and 5/9/23 and alleys were seeded by hand with rye and clover on 5/18/23 and 5/12/23, in Madison and St. Paul, respectively. Cabrillo day-neutral strawberries were transplanted into the established beds on 5/8/23. Data loggers for tensiometers, soil temperature, air temperature, relative humidity, and light intensity were established on 6/15/23 and 5/17/23 in Madison and St. Paul, respectively, to monitor environmental conditions during the trial and to provide guidance for irrigation needs. Plant mortality was recorded on 5/15/23 and 5/22/23 in Madison and 5/24/23 in St. Paul, and dead plants were replanted.To assess mulch condition, percent visual coverage (PVC) and weed presence were recorded beginning on 6/5/23 and twice per month thereafter. Fertigation of plots began 5/22/23 and continued throughout the season on a weekly basis. Removal of flower clusters occurred from 5/31 to 6/29/23 and runner removal began on 6/21/23 and continued biweekly until 9/15/23. Maintenance of weeds in alleys and raised beds began on 5/31/23 and continued on a weekly basis with all equipment, labor, and materials being documented for economic analysis. Harvest began on 7/14/23 in St. Paul and 7/24/23 in Madison and occurred twice per week with weights, marketability, and insect damage ratings recorded for each harvest. Shelf-life evaluations were conducted on in St. Paul on 8/2 and 8/30/23 and a 3rd evaluation is scheduled for September, and in Madison on 8/7/23 with two more planned for September. The shelf-life evaluations were set up in a 4 ?C cooler and berry weights, fungal growth and insect injury were rated at approximately 0, 5, 10, and 15 days. Objective 2: Determine the impact of film-based mulches on insect pests and pollinators in strawberries. To monitor thrips populations, blue sticky cards were setup in Madison, WI on 5/18/23 and in St. Paul, MN in7/3/23in each plot and were changed every 2 weeks. Monitoring of tarnished plant bug was done using a handheld vacuum to sample 40-50 plants in each plot every 2 weeks from 7/12/23 to the end of the season in Madison and from5/30 to 8/1/23 in St. Paul. Pollinator samples were also collected using a handheld vacuum and flowers were sampled on plants in the entire row of each plot (50 row ft). Pollinator samples were collected every 2 weeks starting on 7/12/23. Sugar water floats of ripe strawberry fruit were used to sample spotted wing drosophila to detect larvae and began on 8/4/23 and was conducted every 2 weeks.In addition to the sugar water float method, egg counts will also be done on ripe fruit 3 times starting on 8/7/23. Pollinator observations were conducted once weekly from 7/12/23 to 10/4/23. Five open flowers were observed for 10 minutes, during which any visitors were recorded and identified to species (e.g., Bombus, Apis) or morphogroup (all other insects). Flies from family Syrphidae were collected once weekly from 7/24/23 to 10/4/23 and assayed for exterior pollen loads by washing in ethanol, evaporative drying of the pollen, and subsequent rehydration with Calbera's Stain. Pollen counts were conducted on a haemocytometer of both strawberry pollen and other pollen. Objective 3: Evaluate the pressure of insect pests and diseases in day-neutral strawberry systems from planting to harvest. Madison WI site: Scouting was conducted weekly from planting to harvest to assess for plant diseases and insect pests in the planting. Different methods were used to assess the presence of insects and diseases. Every week, 160 plants (40 plants per mulch treatment) were randomly selected and assessed for insect pest and disease presence and respective pressure using theUniversity of Wisconsin Extension BioIPM Strawberry Workbook. At each sampling point, two leaves or one flower cluster per plant were tapped into a white tray, and insects were counted. Mites were assessed on an incidence-basis: plants were evaluated for mite presence on older foliage and crowns. Each plant was also inspected for foliar disease symptoms. Declining or dead plants were removed and assessed in the laboratory for biotic causal agents. For spotted wing drosophila sampling, each row was assessed by lightly crushing ten fruits in a ziploc bag and adding a saltwater mixture (1 cup of salt per gallon of water) to cover the berries. After one hour, the water was drained into a coffee filter and all fruit fly larvae counted.Pyganic 1.4 II EC was applied at a rate of 50 fl oz. per acre via backpack sprayer 7 times over the course of the season on 7/17/23, 7/25/23, 7/31/23, 8/16/23, 8/21/23, 8/31/23, and 9/13/23 when it was determined that the mean incidence of Tarnished Plant Bug nymphs or adults across the field was greater than one TPB per 4 flower clusters. St. Paul MN site: A tank mix of insecticides and a fungicide was applied to all plots for tarnished plant bug management beginning on 6/22/23 and was repeated 5 times on a weekly basis for a total of 6 applications. Applications targeted adult and nymph tarnished plant bugs at the early stages of flower development to protect developing flower buds and subsequent fruit from feeding injury. The tank mix included the organic certified pesticides Pyganic 5.0 II, Debug Tres, and Oxidate 5.0. For each plot, 40 ft of row was sprayed, and 10 ft of row was left untreated as a check plot. Tarnished plant bugs were sampled weekly from plants using a handheld vacuum to obtain counts of adults and nymphs in the treated and untreated areas. Fruit was also harvested from each area, weighed, and rated for tarnished plant bug injury. Objective 4: Estimate the break-even prices and farm-level profitability for organic day-neutral strawberries under low and high pest pressure. Break-even estimates for day-neutral strawberry production using each of the four mulches was completed for YR1 in December 2022. Results were summarized in a one-page color hand-out for distribution at field days. Results were also included in a presentation for winter conferences and meetings.

Publications

  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2023 Citation: Gu�dot C. 2023. B Watch Out for Thrips Coming From Southerly Winds. Wisconsin Fruit News, Vol 8, Issue 3. May 19, 2023.
  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2023 Citation: Abbrescia A, Gu�dot C, Holland L, Miles-Kroening J. Organic Day Neutral Strawberry Scouting Report for June 9, 2023. Wisconsin Fruit News, Vol 8, Issue 5. June 16, 2023.
  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2023 Citation: Abbrescia A, Gu�dot C, Holland L, Miles-Kroening J. 2023. Organic Day Neutral Strawberry Scouting Report for June 15, 2023. Wisconsin Fruit News, Vol 8, Flash. June 22, 2023.
  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2023 Citation: Abbrescia A, Gu�dot C, Holland L, Miles-Kroening J. 2023. Organic Day Neutral Strawberry Scouting Report for June 26, 2023. Wisconsin Fruit News, Vol 8, Issue 6. June 30, 2023.
  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2023 Citation: Abbrescia A, Gu�dot C, Holland L, Miles-Kroening J. 2023. Organic Day Neutral Strawberry Scouting Report for June 30, 2023. Wisconsin Fruit News, Vol 8, Flash. July 12, 2023.
  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2023 Citation: Abbrescia A, Gu�dot C, Holland L, Miles-Kroening J. 2023. Organic Day Neutral Strawberry Scouting Report for July 7, 2023. Wisconsin Fruit News, Vol 8, Issue 7. July 14, 2023.
  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2023 Citation: Abbrescia A, Gu�dot C, Holland L, Miles-Kroening J. 2023. Organic Day Neutral Strawberry Scouting Report for July 14, 2023. Wisconsin Fruit News, Vol 8, Flash. July 20, 2023.
  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2023 Citation: Abbrescia A, Gu�dot C, Holland L, Miles-Kroening J. 2023. Organic Day Neutral Strawberry Scouting Report for July 21, 2023. Wisconsin Fruit News, Vol 8, Issue 8. July 28, 2023.
  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2023 Citation: Abbrescia A, Gu�dot C, Holland L, Miles-Kroening J. 2023. Organic Day Neutral Strawberry Scouting Report for August 4, 2023. Wisconsin Fruit News, Vol 8, Issue 9. August 11, 2023.
  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2023 Citation: Abbrescia A, Gu�dot C, Holland L, Miles-Kroening J. 2023. Organic Day Neutral Strawberry Scouting Report for August 11, 2023. Wisconsin Fruit News, Vol 8, Flash. August 22, 2023.
  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2023 Citation: Abbrescia A, Gu�dot C, Holland L, Miles-Kroening J. 2023. Organic Day Neutral Strawberry Scouting Report for August 18, 2023. Wisconsin Fruit News, Vol 8, Issue 10. August 25, 2023.
  • Type: Other Status: Other Year Published: 2023 Citation: Gullickson, M.G. and S. Slack. (2023) Day-neutral strawberries. High Tunnel Berry Production Webinar Series. University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin Extension. URL: https://youtu.be/UNtyMG2KJKk
  • Type: Other Status: Other Year Published: 2023 Citation: Gullickson, M. G. (2023) Day-neutral strawberries: Production and Pest Management. Hmong American Growers Association Annual Farmer Training. West Saint Paul, MN.
  • Type: Other Status: Other Year Published: 2023 Citation: Gullickson, M. G., and A. Klodd. (2023). Strawberry Production for the Beginning Grower. Minnesota Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. St. Cloud, MN, January 19, 2023.
  • Type: Other Status: Other Year Published: 2023 Citation: Rogers, M. (2023) Organic Management Strategies for Insect Pests in Small Fruit. UMN Dept. of Horticultural Science Seminar. St. Paul, MN April 19, 2023.
  • Type: Other Status: Other Year Published: 2023 Citation: Rogers, M. and DiGiacomo, G. (2023) Strawberry fields forever: Organic strawberry production for Minnesota growers. Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture Organic Conference. St. Cloud, MN January 6, 2023.
  • Type: Other Status: Other Year Published: 2023 Citation: Atucha, A. 2023. Organic day-neutral strawberry production. Great Plains Growers Conference. January 14, St. Joseph, MO.
  • Type: Other Status: Other Year Published: 2023 Citation: Miles-Kroening, J., Guedot, C., and Atucha, A (2023) "Organic Day-Neutral Strawberry production in the Upper Midwest" at the Wisconsin Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Annual Conference, held virtually on January 30.
  • Type: Other Status: Other Year Published: 2023 Citation: Atucha, A. Miles-Kroening, J., Holland, L., Guedot, C., and Abbrescia, A. (2023) "Organic Day-Neutral Strawberry production". Summer Field day West Madison Agricultural Research Station Verona, WI, on August 31, 2023.
  • Type: Other Status: Other Year Published: 2023 Citation: Gullickson, M., DiGiacomo, G. (2023) Day-neutral Strawberry Field Trial Results: Preliminary Production and Pest Observations. University of Minnesota Organic Field Day. St. Paul, MN July 25, 2023.


Progress 09/01/21 to 08/31/22

Outputs
Target Audience:Target audience is organic horticultural crop producers, new and existing strawberry producers, includes farmers from underrepresented audiences (Hmong producers). Changes/Problems:In the St. Paul location, our first year of research included inclement weather including two notable hailstorms, however the plants recovered. The paper-based mulch in year 1 has shown severe degradation and based on our experience, is not suitable for the relatively long season of organic day-neutral strawberries. However, in the Madison location, the paper mulch treatment has withstood seasonal conditions very well. In addition, in the Madison location we observed heat stress damage to the plants in the early part of the summer, though the plants recovered fine. We have also experienced 89 plants dying due to an unidentified fungal disease (currently under culture for diagnosis). What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?Training and supervision provided to a visiting undergraduate REEU student from Red Lake Nation College,a public tribal land-grant community college on the Red Lake Indian Reservation in Red Lake, Minnesota. Professional development opportunity for graduate student and undergraduate summer intern attending the Wisconsin Berry Growers Association in 7/12/22 in Poynette WI. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?The project was highlighted at our Organic Specialty Crops Field Day at the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus, reaching 84 attendees (including farmers, master gardeners, agriculture-related business or non-profit representatives, and community members) on July 26, 2022. In evaluations, 88% of attendees reported they learned a lot or learned a good amount of new information. Results of the pests and disease scouting have been published online in the Wisconsin Fruit Newsletter which has a readership of over 400 commercial growers, master gardeners, and home growers. https://fruit.wisc.edu/2022/07/28/organic-day-neutral-strawberry-production-field-update/ https://fruit.wisc.edu/2022/08/11/organic-day-neutral-strawberry-insects-and-diseases/ https://fruit.wisc.edu/2022/08/19/scouting-for-insects-in-day-neutral-organic-strawberries-2/ What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Continuation of field research in 2023 Completion of DNS enterprise analysis using first year results (DiGiacomo, Objective 4)

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? Objective 1:Determine plant growth, yield, and fruit quality of day-neutralstrawberries grown in four film-based mulches. Raised beds covered with film-based mulches were established in an organic certified field (K2) on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota from 5/9 - 5/10/22 and in an organic transition field (B605) at the West Madison Agricultural Research Station in Madison, WI in 5/16-5/19/22. Film based mulches included white on black plastic, black plastic, reflective plastic, and heavy-duty crepe paper mulch treatments, each replicated 4 times. Plots were planted with 'Cabrillo' day neutral strawberries on 5/11/22 and 5/20/22 in St. Paul and Madison locations, respectively. Hobo data recorders for air temperature, relative humidity, and light intensity were set up on 5/17/22 and 7/13/22 in St. Paul and Madison locations, respectively, with soil temperature recorders established on 5/27/22 and 5/25/22 in St. Paul and Madison locations, respectively, to monitor environmental conditions during the research trial. Tensiometers were set up on 5/20/22 and 5/25/22 in St. Paul and Madison locations, respectively, to monitor soil moisture to determine when irrigation is necessary. Plant mortality counts were taken on 5/20 and 6/1/22 and dead plants were replanted in St. Paul locations, and 5/23; 5/30, 6/6, and 6/13/22 in Madison.Mulch conditions (percent visual coverage) and weed cover were rated on 6/1/22 and subsequently twice per month in St. Paul and every other week starting 5/27/22 in Madison. Plants began flowering on 6/1/22 and fertigation of plots began 6/2/22 in St Paul, and 6/9/22 and 6/22/22 in Madison, respectively. Flower removal occurred from 6/6 - 6/17/22 and 6/9 to 6/27/22 in St. Paul and Madison, respectively. Runner removal began on 6/10/22 and is ongoing in St. Paul and 6/11/22 in Madison. Weeding and mowing of plots and alleys began 6/10/22 in St. Paul and Madison and continues on a weekly basis with all equipment, labor, and materials being documented and entered into spreadsheets for economic analysis. Harvest began on 7/22/22 in St. Paul and 7/28/22 in Madison and occurs twice per week with weights, marketability, and insect damage ratings recorded for each harvest. The first of three shelf-life evaluations were set up on 8/3/22 in St. Paul and 8/16/22 in Madison in a 4 degree C cooler and will be rated at approximately 0, 5, 10, and 15 days for fungal growth, insects, and weight with additional evaluations done monthly. The first of three fruit quality samples were collected on 8/8/22 for Brix, TA, and anthocyanin content in Madison location. Objective 2:Determine the impact of film-based mulches on insect pests and pollinators in strawberries. Blue sticky cards for thrips were set up on 6/29 and 5/30/22 in St. Paul and Madison, respectively, in each plot and are changed every 2 weeks. Tarnished plant bug is sampled using a handheld vacuum to sample 25 plants in each plot every 2 weeks and started on 7/26 and 8/3/22 in St. Paul and Madison, respectively. Pollinator samples are taken using a handheld vacuum from the flowers on plants in the entire row of each plot, collected every 2 weeks, and started on 8/2 and 8/3 in St. Paul and Madison, respectively. Spotted wing drosophila was sampled using ripe fruit and a sugar water float to detect larvae on 8/5 and in 8/24/22 in St. Paul and Madison, respectively, and will be conducted every 2 weeks. To date insects observed in the plots besides thrips, tarnished plant bug, and spotted wing drosophila have included aphid spp., flea beetle, variegated cutworm, oblique banded leafroller. Two-spotted spider mites, Japanese beetle, European paper wasps, 7-spotted lady beetle adults and larvae, aphid mummies of parasitoid wasps, and green lacewing. Pollinator observations began 7/11/22 and continue biweekly at the Madison location. Objective 3: Evaluate the pressure of insect pests and diseases in day-neutral strawberry systems from planting to harvest. Disease scouting began shortly after planting 5/20/22 in Madison. Nine plants did not establish following planting and were rogued from the plot and assayed for fungal diseases; none were identified. Scouting for foliar diseases began in June 2022. Symptoms of Common Leaf Spot and Phomopsis leaf blight were observed in June, July, and August throughout the plot treatments. Common Leaf Spot numbers were stable throughout the summer months. Phomopsis leaf blight has declined throughout the summer months. No disease differences were observed between the mulch treatments. Fungicides were not applied as disease pressure was low in all treatments. Objective 4:Estimate the break-even prices and farm-level profitability for organic day-neutral strawberries under low and high pest pressure. Economic data collection spreadsheets designed and adapted for field studies (2.22). Review of preliminary labor, material, machinery input expenses and yield data compiled by field staff, Eric Burkness (6.22). Preliminary literature and collection of secondary data needed for enterprise analysis and break-even prices (7.22).

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