Sustainable Organic Strawberry (SOS)

SUSTAINABLE ORGANIC STRAWBERRY (SOS) CROPPING SYSTEMS FOR THE SOUTHEAST

The long-term goal of the project is to expand organic strawberry production in the Southeast by developing organic strawberry cropping systems that are more environmentally and economically sustainable and resilient to weed, pest, and disease pressure.

The project has three major components:
  1. Biological research
  2. Consumer and economic research
  3. Evaluation and outreach
The main experiment examines the effects of three cover crops and a weedy control on:
  1. Soil health
  2. Nematode suppression
  3. Athropod pests
  4. Beneficial organisms
  5. Performance of four strawberry cultivars in open field production
Four additional experiments examine specific aspects of:
  1. Nutrient management incorporating contribution from cover crops and supplemental fertilization
  2. Efficacy of OMRI (Organic Materials Research Institute)-approved materials for management of spotted wing drosophila (SWD) and twospotted spider mite (TSSM), and spot treatment with predatory mites for TSSM
  3. Performance of cultivars in high and low tunnels for cold protection outside sub-tropical Florida

PROJECT ACTIVITIES

We established our project team in 2015 and initiated field trials in April 2016. During the first year, we hosted a research assessment with growers and technical advisors and held our first Industry Liaison Panel meeting. In year two, the project team began on-farm trials that are grower designed and conducted. These trials are not replicates of on-station trials. The growers select which of the on-station treatments or combinations of treatments they want to test on their farms and then implement their own management practices in the trails, including harvesting and recording yield by treatment. This type of on-farm trial greatly enhances the value of the on-station research because it exposes the treatments to a greater range of soil types, other bio]o=physical traits, and management regimes that are representative of strawberry production.

We are also intensively interacting with the farmers during the on-farm experimentation process in order to understand how they make management decisions, the factors that weigh into the decision-making process and how they balance different demands on scarce resources, like labor, and deal with unanticipated risks like inclement weather.

In 2018, we will continue the on-farm trials, conduct two independent research assessments with growers and service providers, and prepare web-based materials for our project website.

  1. consumer preference tests of strawberry cultivars
  2. development of partial budgets for experimental treatments
  3. maintaining stakeholder input from an Industry Liaison Panel and through research assessments with growers and technical advisors
  4. field days, trainings, and workshops

TEAM MEMBERS

Carlene Chase (PI) – UF
Mickie Swisher – UF
Xin Zhao – UF
Oscar Liburd – UF
Zhifeng Gao – UF
Sanjun Gu – NCAT
Alex Bolques – FAMU
Elena Rhodes – UF
Alia DeLong – UF
Zack Black – UF
John E Kimes
Lijia Shi – UF
James Rentz – UF
Xuelian Zhang – UF
Jianyu Li – UF
Luqing Yu – UF