While most of the strawberry growing community is nestled around the warm fire roasting chestnuts, drinking hot toddies and reflecting on the past year, I've been managing a fairly large amount of communication concerning plant dieback which is almost certainly attributed to high nitrate accumulation from pre-plant fertilizers. Those queries which are accompanied by soil analyses say as much with EC's above four, and nitrates well above the 40 ppm what I would see to be of concern, with one sample even setting my heart racing with a stratospheric print of 220 ppm.
This has been discussed pretty thoroughly in this space before, so I simply provide the links here:
and a closer analysis of the issue, including soil samples, here:
We are not looking at getting much benefit from rain for a while, so it's time to run the overhead sprinklers to leach all of this stuff out if high nitrates are the issue in a plant dieback scenario.
We've just completed the newest UC ANR sample cost and return study on conventional strawberry and attached it here.
Giant effort on the part of colleague Laura Tourte along with Jeremy Murdock and Daniel Sumner from the Agricultural Issues Center with UC ANR.
HUGE round of applause for the growers who worked with us to true our work - many hours spent poring over this document with so much great advice and input. Thanks all!!
Document is posted below, crack it open and learn what it takes these days to grow and harvest a crop of conventional strawberries on the Central Coast with all of the new challenges included and updated.
This website, run by colleague Oleg Daugovish and one to which all of us Advisors contribute too, should be pretty useful to you all in figuring out some of the problems you see on strawberries in the field:
In case you didn't know this already, but Americans have really been eating a lot more berries than they used to. According the article linked below, raspberry consumption has increased 475% from 2000 to 2012, and consumption of strawberries is up 60% in the same timeframe.
Interestingly, since volume of fresh fruit consumed per person in the USA is basically flat in this 12 year period at 48 lbs per year, this means that berries are making up a increasing share of the total, with apples (down 9%), oranges (down 9%) and bananas (down 11%) taking the hit.
The best part of the article is the explanation of why this is happening. It says it's because berry farmers have figured out how to grow more berries and better berries.
Read the article, it's good:
This is announcing the fifth meeting in our UCCE series on strawberry management on the Central Coast. On April 24 at the Spence Road USDA Research Station, 1572 Spence Road in Salinas, courtesy of Steve Fennimore, UCCE Specialist, we will discuss weed management in strawberries, first working on properly identifying weeds and then discussing their control, including through the use of herbicides.
The entire meeting will be conducted in Spanish, with translation to English. Agenda is below.