- Author: Mark Bolda
Just put out a study this morning with my colleagues from PSI screening a number of biological fungicides. These materials have been accumulating interest on the part of both growers and buyers as they seem to fit a more "natural" approach to food production attractive to consumers.
Trouble is, and I've had conversations concerning this with my colleague Gerald Holmes down south at CalPoly , that it's hard to get treatment separation in field fungicide screens for Botrytis. And much less for biological materials which tend to be of a lower efficacy.
Time to go all in to try and tease those treatment separations to come out. As (I hope) most of our industry participants know, Botrytis does not generally infect the mature fruit, and rather infects the open flower and lies dormant until the fruit reaches a certain ideal concentration of soluble solids. With that in mind, I'm thinking it's a good call to start these screens, especially of less established materials, early in the year when most of the early crop is still in the flower stage, and with the addition of these intermittent, late season rains we have the table set for a very solid piece of work.
Along with the weekly applications of fungicides, we'll be doing both in field evaluations of marketable and diseased fruit, and then take it even further with clinical evaluations in the lab once we have mature fruit.
I'm very optimistic here that we'll really bring something of value forward on Botrytis this year in strawberry.