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.
- consumer preference tests of strawberry cultivars
- development of partial budgets for experimental treatments
- maintaining stakeholder input from an Industry Liaison Panel and through research assessments with growers and technical advisors
- field days, trainings, and workshops
- The research assessments are conducted by participants on site
- Participants write down their plot observations on forms based on treatments in the experiment, although they are blind to the specific treatments
- In a discussion led by a facilitator, the participants discuss their observations and assess the strongest and weakest treatments
- The treatments are then revealed and participants are asked to make recommendations to the researchers for future trials
We hosted a research assessment in Citra, FL in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
We are hosting our final research assessment in 2020.
Advisory Panel Objectives
- Stakeholder empowerment throughout project
- Gather invaluable perspective and experience from experts
- Identify strawberry production challenges unique to the Southeast (pests, diseases, environment, nutrient management)
- Make recommendations for research design, project outreach, on-farm trials, mobilizing growers
- Assess viability of the strawberry production systems with regard to organic production
- Establish reliable information about organic strawberry production in the Southeast
We hosted advisory panel meetings in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
We are hosting the final advisory panel meeting in 2020.