Field production of strawberry fruit using growing media under different irrigation scheduling regimes
Conventional strawberry fruit production is an intensive operation which requires significant inputs of fertilizers and pesticides. A potential alternative to reduce the chemical inputs is to grow strawberry plants in small troughs on field beds that are filled with disease and pathogen-free substrate media. The objective of this study was to evaluate irrigation rates on strawberry growth using a substrate trough system. Field experiments were conducted, on a commercial strawberry farm, to measure substrate water content and strawberry fruit yield under three irrigation levels: 100, 150, and 200% replacement of evapotranspiration (ET). Five substrate growing media types were used in the study, and a time domain reflectometry system was used for water content measurement. Both marketable and non-marketable fruit yields were measured using a commercial harvest crew. Experimental results showed significant differences in substrate water content, e.g. higher water content in 150% or 200% ET than that in the 100% ET treatment. However, there was no significant yield difference between the different levels of irrigation. Most of the substrate media produced a fruit yield comparable to the grower standard soil beds. Overall, the study showed that the substrate trough system could be a potential alternative to conventional strawberry fruit production.
Wang, D. (2021). Field production of strawberry fruit using growing media under different irrigation scheduling regimes. Acta Hortic. 1305, 471-476
crop evapotranspiration, drip irrigation, water content, Fragaria ananassa